Simultaneous quantification of mitochondrial DNA damage and copy number in circulating blood: a sensitive approach to systemic oxidative stress.

Research paper by Sam W SW Chan, Simone S Chevalier, Armen A Aprikian, Junjian Z JZ Chen

Indexed on: 14 Mar '13Published on: 14 Mar '13Published in: BioMed research international


Systemic oxidative stress is associated with a wide range of pathological conditions. Oxidative DNA damage is frequently measured in circulating lymphocytes. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is known to be more sensitive to oxidative damage than nuclear DNA but is rarely used for direct measurement of DNA damage in clinical studies. Based on the supercoiling-sensitive real-time PCR method, we propose a new approach for the noninvasive monitoring of systemic oxidative stress by quantifying the mtDNA structural damage and copy number change in isolated lymphocytes in a single test. We show that lymphocytes have significantly less mtDNA content and relatively lower baseline levels of damage than cancer cell lines. In an ex vivo challenge experiment, we demonstrate, for the first time, that exogenous H2O2 induces a significant increase in mtDNA damage in lymphocytes from healthy individuals, but no repair activity is observed after 1 h recovery. We further demonstrate that whole blood may serve as a convenient alternative to the isolated lymphocytes in mtDNA analysis. Thus, the blood analysis with the multiple mtDNA end-points proposed in the current study may provide a simple and sensitive test to interrogate the nature and extent of systemic oxidative stress for a broad spectrum of clinical investigations.