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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Oxidatively generated DNA/RNA damage in psychological stress states

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Both non-pathological psychological stress states and mental disorders are associated with molecular, cellular and epidemiological signs of accelerated aging. Oxidative stress on nucleic acids is a critical component of cellular and organismal aging, and a suggested pathogenic mechanism in several age-related somatic disorders. The overall aim of the PhD project was to investigate the relation between psychopathology, psychological stress, stress hormone secretion and oxidatively generated DNA and RNA damage, as measured by the urinary excretion of markers of whole-body DNA/RNA oxidation (8-oxodG and 8-oxoGuo, respectively). The main hypothesis was that psychological stress states are associated with increased DNA/RNA damage from oxidation. In a study of 40 schizophrenia patients and 40 healthy controls matched for age and gender, we found that 8-oxodG/8-oxoGuo excretion was increased in schizophrenia patients, providing a possible molecular link between schizophrenia and its associated signs of accelerated aging. We found no association between psychopathology, perceived stress or cortisol secretion and 8-oxodG/8-oxoGuo excretion in the patients. In the controls, there were positive correlations between 8-oxodG/8-ocoGuo excretion and 9AM plasma cortisol, but no associations to perceived stress. In an animal study of experimentally induced chronic stress performed in metabolism cages, we found no increase in urinary 8-oxodG/8-oxoGuo or cerebral (hippocampal and frontal cortex) levels of oxidatively generated nucleic acid damage. However, there was a trend towards an increased expression of genes involved in DNA repair, possibly reflecting a compensatory mechanism. In a study of 220 elderly, mostly healthy individuals from the Italian InChianti cohort, we found a significant association between the 24 h urinary cortisol excretion and the excretion of 8-oxodG/8-oxoGuo, determined in the same samples. Collectively, the studies could not confirm an association between psychological stress and oxidative stress on nucleic acids. Systemic oxidatively generated DNA/RNA damage was increased in schizophrenia, and linked to cortisol levels in healthy humans. Finally, the cerebral repair of DNA may be an aspect of the adaptation that, to our knowledge, has not previously been addressed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDanish Medical Bulletin (Online)
Volume60
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)B4685
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

ID: 42259582