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Phosphorylation of H2AX histone (γH2AX) represents an early event in the DNA damage response against double-strand breaks (DSB); hence, its measurement provides a surrogate biomarker of DSB. Recently, we reported initial steps in the standardization of γH2AX assay in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL), addressing the possibility of using cryopreserved samples, and the need of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) stimulation prior analysis (Toxicol Sci 2015, 144:406-13). Validating the use of whole blood samples as cell specimen for this assay would be particularly useful for human population studies. Hence, in the current study we determined for the first time the feasibility of whole blood samples, both fresh and frozen, to be used in the γH2AX assay, evaluated by flow cytometry, and the convenience of PHA stimulation. Freshly collected and cryopreserved whole blood samples were treated with bleomycin (BLM), actinomycin-D (Act-D) and mitomycin C (MMC); half of the samples were previously incubated with PHA. Results were compared with those from PBL. Negative responses in MMC treatments were probably due to the quiescence of unstimulated cells, or to the short treatment time in PHA stimulated cells. Fresh whole blood samples exhibited a more intense response to BLM and Act-D treatments in stimulated cells, probably due to DSB indirectly produced from other less relevant types of DNA damage. Results obtained in frozen whole blood samples indicate that PHA stimulation is not advisable. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that whole blood samples can be used to assess DSB-related genotoxicity by the flow cytometry γH2AX assay.

Citation

Blanca Laffon, María Sánchez-Flores, Natalia Fernández-Bertólez, Eduardo Pásaro, Vanessa Valdiglesias. Applicability of flow cytometry γH2AX assay in population studies: suitability of fresh and frozen whole blood samples. Archives of toxicology. 2021 Feb 23


PMID: 33624155

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