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Mech Ageing Dev. 2005 Oct;126(10):1051-9.

Microsatellite instability (MSI) increases with age in normal somatic cells.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Small pool PCR (SP-PCR) is a sensitive method for the detection and quantification of microsatellite instability (MSI) in somatic cells. Here we propose that mutant microsatellite fragments accumulate with age in normal somatic cells and that this increase in MSI can be quantified by SP-PCR. MSI at 6 microsatellite loci was determined by SP-PCR in PBL DNA from 17 "normal" blood bank donors. These individuals varied in age from 20 to 67 y/o. MSI phenotypes were plotted against age in a regression analyses. A positive slope indicated a correlation between age and MSI phenotype (p=0.0006). The mean weighted average mutant frequencies across all loci for all individuals in the age groups (0.009 for 20-30 y/o; 0.019 for 35-50 y/o; 0.034 for 60-70 y/o) were also significantly different from each other (p<0.01). A baseline for increases of MSI with age in human somatic cells was therefore begun and the effectiveness of SP-PCR to evaluate low, but significant, levels of MSI, established.

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