8-Hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) has been widely used as a biomarker of oxidative DNA damage in both animal and human studies. However, controversial data exist on the relationship between 8-OHdG formation and age, sex and tobacco smoking in humans, while few or no data are available on other exposures such as environmental tobacco smoke, alcohol, coffee and tea consumption. We investigated the level of 8-OHdG in DNA from peripheral leukocytes among 102 healthy adults living in Brescia province, North Italy, aged 25-45 (mean: 35.2 years), of which 51 were males. 8-OHdG levels expressed as a ratio to total deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG/106 dG) in DNA showed wide interindividual variation, the highest value (63.8) being 6. 2-fold greater than the lowest (10.3). Current smokers showed lower mean 8-OHdG values than subjects who never smoked (29.3 and 34.0, respectively, p<0.05), and an inverse relationship was found between 8-OHdG and lifetime smoking, which was independent of age, sex and body mass index. An inverse relationship was also found with coffee drinking while no association was observed with alcohol and tea consumption, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and use of vitamins in all subjects, and with use of oral contraceptives in females. The inverse relationship between smoking status and 8-OHdG levels could be explained by the presence of efficient repair processes for the oxidative damage induced by smoking. In this study, the smokers were relatively young (77% were less than 40 years) and only 7% smoked 30 or more cigarettes a day. In conclusion, it would appear that 8-OHdG levels in leukocytes may not provide a sensitive marker of exposure to tobacco smoking.
Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.