Background. Single cell gel electrophoresis or comet assay is used at present in the world to study of DNA damage, DNA repair and apoptosis. The aim of the work is to introduce the principle of comet assay to the medical community and to give a basic survey of its possible clinical applications. The article includes out first experience with this method in detection of apoptosis in bone marrow cells of patients with myelodysplastic syndom (MDS). Methoda and Results. The whole bone marrow aspirates from 6 patients with MDS and 7 control persona esere processed by alkaline version of comet assay and the degree of DNA fragmentation in individual cells was quantified using Image Analysis System. In comparison with controls, the patients with diagnosis RA and RARS exhibited in bone marrow significantly elevated number of cells with high level of DNA breaks, reflecting most probably the apoptosic cleavage of DNA. In contrast, the pacient in proliferaflve stage of the disease (MDS-CMML ~ AML) exhibited decreased frequency of apoptosic cells, well below the control level.
Conclusion. Our results correspond with the data published on the occurrence of apoptosis in particular types of MDS. Comet assay represents a simple and cheap technique, applicable in clinical hematology to specify the diagnosis, to monitor the disease progress and efficacy of therapy not only in patients with MDS but also in other diseases resulting from an imbalance between proliferation and apoptosis.
comet assay, apoptosis, myelodysplastic syndom.