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Comet assay as an indirect measure of systemic oxidative stress.

Fang L, Neutzner A, Turtschi S, Flammer J, Mozaffarieh M - J Vis Exp (2015)

Bottom Line: An intact DNA molecule has such a large size that it does not migrate during electrophoresis.As the fragments have different sizes the final result of the electrophoresis is not a distinct line but rather a continuum with the shape of a comet.The system allows a quantification of the resulting "comet" and thus of the DNA breaks in the cell.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ophthalmology, University of Basel; Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel.

ABSTRACT
Higher eukaryotic organisms cannot live without oxygen; yet, paradoxically, oxygen can be harmful to them. The oxygen molecule is chemically relatively inert because it has two unpaired electrons located in different pi * anti-bonding orbitals. These two electrons have parallel spins, meaning they rotate in the same direction about their own axes. This is why the oxygen molecule is not very reactive. Activation of oxygen may occur by two different mechanisms; either through reduction via one electron at a time (monovalent reduction), or through the absorption of sufficient energy to reverse the spin of one of the unpaired electrons. This results in the production of reactive oxidative species (ROS). There are a number of ways in which the human body eliminates ROS in its physiological state. If ROS production exceeds the repair capacity, oxidative stress results and damages different molecules. There are many different methods by which oxidative stress can be measured. This manuscript focuses on one of the methods named cell gel electrophoresis, also known as "comet assay" which allows measurement of DNA breaks. If all factors known to cause DNA damage, other than oxidative stress are kept constant, the amount of DNA damage measured by comet assay is a good parameter of oxidative stress. The principle is simple and relies upon the fact that DNA molecules are negatively charged. An intact DNA molecule has such a large size that it does not migrate during electrophoresis. DNA breaks, however, if present result in smaller fragments which move in the electrical field towards the anode. Smaller fragments migrate faster. As the fragments have different sizes the final result of the electrophoresis is not a distinct line but rather a continuum with the shape of a comet. The system allows a quantification of the resulting "comet" and thus of the DNA breaks in the cell.

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Comet assay as an indirect measure of systemic oxidative stress.

Fang L, Neutzner A, Turtschi S, Flammer J, Mozaffarieh M - J Vis Exp (2015)

© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4542923&req=5

Bottom Line: An intact DNA molecule has such a large size that it does not migrate during electrophoresis.As the fragments have different sizes the final result of the electrophoresis is not a distinct line but rather a continuum with the shape of a comet.The system allows a quantification of the resulting "comet" and thus of the DNA breaks in the cell.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ophthalmology, University of Basel; Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel.

ABSTRACT
Higher eukaryotic organisms cannot live without oxygen; yet, paradoxically, oxygen can be harmful to them. The oxygen molecule is chemically relatively inert because it has two unpaired electrons located in different pi * anti-bonding orbitals. These two electrons have parallel spins, meaning they rotate in the same direction about their own axes. This is why the oxygen molecule is not very reactive. Activation of oxygen may occur by two different mechanisms; either through reduction via one electron at a time (monovalent reduction), or through the absorption of sufficient energy to reverse the spin of one of the unpaired electrons. This results in the production of reactive oxidative species (ROS). There are a number of ways in which the human body eliminates ROS in its physiological state. If ROS production exceeds the repair capacity, oxidative stress results and damages different molecules. There are many different methods by which oxidative stress can be measured. This manuscript focuses on one of the methods named cell gel electrophoresis, also known as "comet assay" which allows measurement of DNA breaks. If all factors known to cause DNA damage, other than oxidative stress are kept constant, the amount of DNA damage measured by comet assay is a good parameter of oxidative stress. The principle is simple and relies upon the fact that DNA molecules are negatively charged. An intact DNA molecule has such a large size that it does not migrate during electrophoresis. DNA breaks, however, if present result in smaller fragments which move in the electrical field towards the anode. Smaller fragments migrate faster. As the fragments have different sizes the final result of the electrophoresis is not a distinct line but rather a continuum with the shape of a comet. The system allows a quantification of the resulting "comet" and thus of the DNA breaks in the cell.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus