Blood micronutrients and DNA damage in children
Child Health Promotion Research Centre
Scope: Maintenance of normal cellular phenotype depends largely on accurate DNA replication and repair. DNA damage causes gene mutations and predisposes to cancer and other chronic diseases. Growing evidence indicates that nutritional factors are associated with DNA damage in adults; here, we investigate these associations in children. Methods and results: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 462 healthy children 3, 6, and 9 years of age. Blood was collected and micronutrient levels were measured. The cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome assay was used to measure chromosomal DNA damage (micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges, and nuclear buds) in lymphocytes. Cell apoptosis, necrosis, and the nuclear division index were also measured. Nine loci in genes involved in folate metabolism and DNA repair were genotyped. Data were analyzed using linear regression with adjustment for potential confounders. Plasma calcium was positively associated with micronuclei and necrosis, and α-tocopherol negatively associated with apoptosis, nuclear division index, and nucleoplasmic bridges; lutein was positively associated with nucleoplasmic bridges. α-tocopherol was positively associated with necrosis. Conclusion: DNA damage in healthy children may be influenced by blood micronutrient levels and certain genotypes. Further investigation of associations between nutritional status and genomic integrity in children is needed to shed additional light on potential mechanisms.