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Mutat Res. 1988 Mar;204(3):421-33.

Chromosomal aberration and sister-chromatid exchange frequencies in peripheral blood lymphocytes of a large human population sample.

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Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973.


In order to assess the potential of cytogenetic determinations on peripheral blood lymphocytes as a means of monitoring human populations subject to low level occupational and environmental exposures to chemical mutagens and carcinogens, accurate baseline data are required. Accordingly, we have determined mean frequencies of chromosomal aberrations and of sister-chromatid exchanges, their variances, and the sources of this variance in a cohort of 353 healthy employees of the Brookhaven National Laboratory. A detailed protocol was adopted for blood sampling, lymphocyte culture, cytogenetic preparation and scoring in order to minimize variation from these potential sources. Scoring was divided between the Oak Ridge and the Brookhaven groups with duplicate scoring sufficient to evaluate and minimize the effect of any differences between laboratories or between individual scorers. In all, the data include 71,950 cells scored for chromosomal aberrations and 16,898 cells scored for sister-chromatid exchanges. The mean unadjusted frequency of sister-chromatid exchanges was 8.29 +/- 0.08/cell. As reported in other studies, cigarette smoking very significantly influenced sister-chromatid exchange frequencies; in our study the mean for smokers was 9.0 +/- 0.2, while that for non-smokers was 8.1 +/- 0.1/cell. The mean frequency was statistically higher in females than in males, regardless of smoking status. On the other hand, age of the subject did not significantly influence sister-chromatid exchange frequencies. Curiously, the subject's total white cell count did influence sister-chromatid exchange frequency. No other source of variation was found. The frequencies of chromosomal aberrations of all types were determined. The frequency of the most common unequivocal chromatid type, the chromatid deletion, was 0.81 +/- 0.05%, that of the most common unequivocal chromosome type, the dicentric, was 0.16 +/- 0.02%. No statistically significant influence was found of age or sex, nor of any other parameter tested, on the frequency of any chromosomal aberration type, with the single exception of long acentric fragments, often "supernumerary", believed to represent X chromosomes precociously separated at the centromere. Such fragments were significantly more frequent in samples from females than those from males, and showed a significant positive regression on age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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