Influence of heavy metal stress on antioxidant status and DNA damage in Urtica dioica

Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:276417. doi: 10.1155/2013/276417. Epub 2013 Jun 4.


Heavy metals have the potential to interact and induce several stress responses in the plants; thus, effects of heavy metal stress on DNA damages and total antioxidants level in Urtica dioica leaves and stems were investigated. The samples are sampled from areas with different metal exposition. Metal content was analyzed by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer (ICP-AES), for total antioxidants level assessment the Ferric-Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) assay was used, and genomic DNA isolation from frozen plant samples was performed to obtain DNA fingerprints of investigated plant. It was found that heavy metal contents in stems generally changed synchronously with those in leaves of the plant, and extraneous metals led to imbalance of mineral nutrient elements. DNA damages were investigated by Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique, and the results demonstrated that the samples exposed to metals yielded a large number of new fragments (total 12) in comparison with the control sample. This study showed that DNA stability is highly affected by metal pollution which was identified by RAPD markers. Results suggested that heavy metal stress influences antioxidant status and also induces DNA damages in U. dioica which may help to understand the mechanisms of metals genotoxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Elements
  • Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity*
  • Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Urtica dioica / drug effects
  • Urtica dioica / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Elements
  • Metals, Heavy