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Biotechniques. 1999 Feb;26(2):282-3, 286-9.

Optimization of single-cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) for quantitative analysis of neuronal DNA damage.

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1
UMDNJ-RWJMS, Department of Pharmacology, Piscataway 08854, USA.

Abstract

Neuronal death can be induced by DNA-damaging agents and occurs by apoptosis involving a specific signal-transduction pathway. However, to our knowledge, methods for the quantitative determination of DNA damage in individual neurons have not yet been described. Here we optimize the single-cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) or "comet"-assay to measure DNA damage within individual neurons growing in dissociated cell culture. In addition, we have written a macro for the NIH Image program to determine the tail moment of individual comets. We have calibrated this method using gamma-irradiated (0-16 Gy) cerebral cortical neurons from the rat central nervous system. Neuronal DNA damage (in the form of DNA strand breaks) occurs in a linear, dose-dependent manner, which can be quantitatively determined in vitro using the SCGE assay. These data demonstrate that the SCGE assay is an effective method to measure DNA damage in individual neurons and may be highly useful for the study of neuronal DNA damage formation, repair and apoptosis.

PMID:
10023540
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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