Recommendations for standardized description of and nomenclature concerning oxidatively damaged nucleobases in DNA

Chem Res Toxicol. 2010 Apr 19;23(4):705-7. doi: 10.1021/tx1000706.


The field of oxidative stress, and the study of oxidatively damaged DNA, in particular, is a subject of intense, and growing interest. This has, in part, benefited from the availability of kits from commercial suppliers which are advertised as reporting on markers of oxidative stress. Such widespread use has inevitably led to an increase in the number of concerns, amongst experts in the field, editors and referees, over appropriateness of terminology and methodology. Thus, the widely used term “oxidative DNA damage” is misleading as it implies that the damage, i.e. the lesion per se, is oxidative and thus capable of oxidising other substrates. We would encourage the use of such terms as ‘oxidatively damaged DNA’, ‘oxidatively generated DNA damage’, ‘oxidatively-derived damage to DNA’ or ‘oxidation-induced DNA damage’ to describe the consequence of the interaction of reactive oxygen species with DNA. One of the most studied nucleic acid-derived biomarkers of oxidative stress is 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG). Yet, in the literature, this compound has been referred to using a number of different terms, sometimes leading to confusion over the designation of the modified nucleobase or (2′-deoxy)ribonucleoside. Standardisation of nomenclature would not only simplify literature searches, but also clarify the lesion in question. Herein, we provide justification for our preferred nomenclature, and suggest a number of steps by which we may work towards standardisation of calibration, and with it improved inter-laboratory agreement, for assays of 8-oxodG, in order to achieve accurate measurements.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage*
  • Nucleotides / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • Nucleotides