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Mutat Res. 2011 Mar 18;721(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2010.11.014. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Comet assay and analysis of micronucleus formation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Erzurum Nenehatun Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Erzurum, Turkey.


Oxidants play a significant role in causing oxidative stress, which underlies the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Genetic factors that predispose individuals to RA are considered to play an important role in the development of the disease. The aim of this study was to determine, by use of the comet assay and the micronucleus (MN) test, whether DNA damage has an effect on the pathogenesis of RA. Furthermore, our aim was to show if there is an association between oxidative stress and DNA damage in RA. This study was conducted between January and June 2010 in the Erzurum Training and Research Hospital. We analyzed lymphocytes from patients with RA (12 in active and 31 in inactive periods) and 30 healthy controls for effects in the comet assay and the MN test. In addition, the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) rate were determined in all the subjects. The comet-tail length, the MN frequencies and the MDA levels were significantly higher in patients--both in the active and the inactive period--than in the controls. In contrast, the SOD and GSH-Px levels were significantly lower in both patient groups than in the controls. Our results suggest that an increased plasma MDA level and decreased plasma GSH-Px and SOD levels reflect the higher degree of oxidative stress in RA patients, a situation that may impair genetic stability in those patients. Thus, the results suggest that increased DNA damage may play an important role in the pathogenesis of RA.

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