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Am J Hum Genet. 1998 Nov;63(5):1464-72.

Age-dependent inclusion of sex chromosomes in lymphocyte micronuclei of man.

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Department of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Findland.


Two-color centromeric FISH was used to study the inclusion of the X and Y chromosomes in micronuclei of cultured lymphocytes from 10 men representing two age groups (21-29 years and 51-55 years). In addition, pancentromeric FISH was separately performed to identify any human chromosomes in micronuclei. One hundred micronuclei per probe were examined from each donor. A higher mean frequency of Y-positive micronuclei was observed in the older men than in the younger men. In both age groups, the X chromosome was micronucleated clearly more often than expected by chance, and the Y chromosome was overrepresented in micronuclei among the older men but not among the younger men. In lymphocytes of four women, X-positive micronuclei were more frequent than they were in men, even after the fact that women have two X chromosomes was taken into account. Similar results were obtained in first-division lymphocytes identified by cytochalasin-B-induced cytokinesis block. In comparison with normal cells, these binucleate cells showed a higher frequency (per 1,000 nuclei) of X-positive micronuclei (in the older men) but a lower frequency of micronuclei harboring autosomes or acentric fragments. In conclusion, the results show that both the X chromosome and the Y chromosome are preferentially micronucleated in male lymphocytes, the Y chromosome only in older subjects. Although the X chromosome has a general tendency to be included in micronuclei, it is micronucleated much more often in women than in men, which is probably the main reason for the high micronucleus frequency in women that has been documented in many previous studies.

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