Rzeszowska-Wolny, J., Polanska, J., Pietrowska, M., Palyvoda, O., Jaworska, J., Butkiewicz, D. and Hancock, R. Influence of Polymorphisms in DNA Repair Genes XPD, XRCC1 and MGMT on DNA Damage Induced by Gamma Radiation and its Repair in Lymphocytes In Vitro. Radiat. Res. 164, 132– 140 (2005).
DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs) were quantified by single-cell gel electrophoresis and micronucleated and apoptotic cells were quantified by microscopic assays in peripheral blood lymphocytes after irradiation on ice with 2 Gy of 60Co γ radiation, and their association with polymorphisms of genes that encode proteins of different DNA repair pathways and influence cancer risk (XPD codon 312Asp → Asn and 751Lys → Gln, XRCC1 399Arg → Gln, and MGMT 84Leu → Phe) was studied. In unirradiated lymphocytes, SSBs were significantly more frequent in individuals older than the median age (52 years) (P = 0.015; n = 81), and the frequency of apoptotic or micronucleated cells was higher in individuals with alleles coding for Asn at XPD 312 or Gln at 751 (P = 0.030 or 0.023 ANOVA, respectively; n = 54). The only polymorphism associated with the background SSB level was MGMT 84Phe (P = 0.04, ANOVA; n = 66). After irradiation, SSB levels and repair parameters did not differ significantly with age or smoking habit. The SSB level varied more than twofold and the repair rate and level of unrepaired SSBs more than 10-fold between individuals. The presence of variant alleles coding for Asn at XPD 312 was associated with more radiation-induced SSBs (P = 0.014) and fewer unrepaired SSBs (P = 0.008), and the phenotype (>median induced SSBs/<median unrepaired SSBs) was seen in the majority of XPD 312Asn/Asn homozygotes; the odds ratio for variant homozygotes to show this phenotype was 5.2 (95% confidence interval 1.4–19.9). The hypothesis is discussed that XPD could participate in repair of ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage. While it cannot be excluded that the effects observed are due to cosegregating polymorphisms or that the responses of lymphocytes are not typical of other cell types, the results suggest that polymorphism of DNA repair genes, particularly XPD, is one factor implicated in the variability of responses to ionizing radiation between different individuals.