Genetic damage in human blood cells exposed to germicidal lamps and cytoprotection of ascorbic acid

Mónica Reynoso-Silva, Carlos Alvarez-Moya, José de Jesús Vargas-Radillo, Lucía Barrientos-Ramírez, Ramón Rodríguez-Macías


Introduction. Germicidal lamps have a wavelength range of 200-280 nm and can affect the integrity of the DNA of people who handle this equipment. Human lymphocytes are excellent biomonitors of genetic damage and widely used with the comet assay.

Objective. Evaluation of genotoxicity in human blood cells exposed to UV-C radiation (254 nm) emitted by germicidal lamps and the cytoprotective effect of ascorbic acid, using the comet test.

Material and methods. Slides containing lymphocytes immersed in agarose gel were exposed to UV-C radiation (254 nm) for periods of 5, 10 and 15 minutes and 70 cm away. The antigenotoxic effect was determined in cells exposed to UV-C for 5 minutes and 70 cm away, subsequently the slides were subjected to an ascorbic acid solution for periods of 5, 10 and 15 for two hours. In both situations, genetic damage was quantified by the comet test using three parameters: tail length, tail moment, and migration groups.

Results. The three parameters detected significant genotoxic activity (p<0.05) in the times of exposure to UV-C and cytoprotective effect of ascorbic acid (p<0.05).

Conclusions. The handling of UV-C germicidal lamps is often wrong and dangerous to exposed people or organisms. These data suggest that ascorbic acid increases DNA protection in cells exposed to UV-C radiation.

Keyword: UV radiation, genetic damage, genotoxicity, ascorbic acid, comet assay.


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