Tuesday, 9 February 2016

DNA Double Stranded Breaks - Heads, It's Radiation! Tails, It's Folate Deficiency!

The cells in our body each contain [23 pairs] 46 chromosomes consisting of tightly wound, double stranded DNA. There's about 2 metres of it in each cell and 10 trillion cells in our bodies. So there's an awful  lot of DNA susceptible to damage in 
The Complex You:

Folate deficiency and ionizing radiation cause DNA breaks in primary human lymphocytes: a comparison

 DNA double-strand breaks, the most serious DNA lesion caused by ionizing radiation, are also caused by several vitamin or mineral deficiencies, such as for folate.

These findings suggest that a diet poor in folate may pose a risk of DNA damage comparable to that of a relatively high dose of radiation

Our results also suggest that research on biological effects of low-dose radiation should take into account the nutritional status of the subjects, because folate deficiency could confound the effects of low-dose radiation.


Both folate deficiency and ionizing radiation at relatively high doses cause DNA breaks, as measured by the Comet assay:
For the conditions we used in this study, physiological concentrations of folate deficiency induced as much DNA damage as did 1 Gy of radiation, a relatively high dose of radiation.

Folate deficiency and high doses, but not low doses, of radiation inhibit growth of primary human lymphocytes:
Cells irradiated with 1 Gy had a proliferation rate of ~50% of that of unirradiated cells (P<0.001); 5 Gy completely abolished lymphocyte proliferation (P<0.001). 

Apoptosis is increased by both folate deficiency and high doses, but not low doses, of ionizing radiation:
For radiation, an increase in apoptosis was observed only at the highest dose, 5 Gy, where 16% of the cells were apoptotic, compared with 8% for unirradiated cells. Cells irradiated with  1 Gy had a similar percentage of apoptotic cells as unirradiated cells 

A Telling little laboratory 'accident' lead to this research:
Jim MacGregor...... was looking at radiation breaking chromosomes in precursors of mouse red blood cells, and one day all his control mice were full of chromosome breaks. It turned out the company that sold him the vitamin mix for the mice had left out folic acid, and a lack of folic acid breaks chromosomes just like radiation does.
Bruce Ames - Pioneering Nutritionist.

There's a fair amount of concern about folate deficiency in the UK, with an ongoing debate about adding folic acid to flour:
UK Experts back adding Folic Acid to Flour

So the next time you come across a mention of - Nuclear Power Plants associated with leukaemia clusters - ask if the victims were checked for Folate or other Nutritional Deficiencies!
Nuclear Power Plants cleared of causing leukaemia

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