Oxidative DNA damage in CD34+ myelodysplastic cells is associated with intracellular redox changes and elevated plasma tumour necrosis factor-α concentration


Dr David T. Bowen Department of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY.


Ineffective haemopoiesis in the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) is mediated, at least in part, by apoptosis, though the mechanisms of apoptotic induction are unclear. Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) promotes apoptosis via intracellular oxygen free radical production, oxidation of DNA and proteins, and is increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of MDS. Using single-cell gel electrophoresis, we have identified oxidized pyrimidine nucleotides in the progenitor-enriched bone marrow CD34+ compartment from MDS patients (P = 0.039), which are absent in both CD34 MDS cells (P = 0.53) and also CD34+ cells from normal subjects (P = 0.55). MDS CD34+ blood cells also showed oxidized pyrimidine nucleotides compared with CD34 cells (P = 0.029). Within normal subjects no differences were seen between CD34+ and CD34 bone marrow cell compartments. CD34+ bone marrow cell oxidized pyrimidines were strongly associated with elevated plasma TNF-α and low bone marrow mononuclear cell glutathione concentrations (5/6 patients) and the inverse relationship was also found (3/4 patients). This data implies a role for intracellular oxygen free radical production, perhaps mediated by TNF-α, in the pathogenesis of ineffective haemopoiesis in MDS and provides a rationale for the bone marrow stimulatory effects of antioxidants such as Amifostine in MDS.