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Using the alkaline filter elution technique we determined the induction and disappearance of DNA single-strand breaks (SSB) in freshly isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from 43 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and 48 normal, healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects following in vitro exposure to N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU). The mean percentage SSB disappearance in PBL from control subjects at 1 h after ENU treatment was 41.4 +/- 2.9%; this was not significantly different from that found in samples from AD patients which had no (n = 16) or one (n = 12) first-degree relative with dementia (42.5 +/- 8.2% and 43.0 +/- 4.4%, respectively; p greater than 0.75). However, in PBL of 15 AD patients with at least two first-degree relatives with dementia the mean percentage SSB disappearance was 23.6 +/- 5.8%, which was significantly lower than that found in controls (p less than 0.01) or in the other AD patients (p less than 0.02).

Original publication




Journal article


Neurobiology of aging

Publication Date





367 - 370


Department of Molecular Biology, TNO Institute for Experimental Gerontology, Rijswijk, The Netherlands.


Lymphocytes, Humans, Alzheimer Disease, DNA Damage, Ethylnitrosourea, DNA Repair, Aging, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male