Caffeine potentiates or protects against radiation-induced DNA and chromosomal damage in human lymphocytes depending on temperature and concentration

Mutat Res. 1994 Dec 1;311(2):169-74. doi: 10.1016/0027-5107(94)90174-0.


The effect of caffeine on radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations and DNA strand breaks in unstimulated human lymphocytes was investigated. When present prior to and during the radiation exposure, caffeine treatment was found to cause either potentiation or protection against induction of chromosomal aberrations depending on the concentration and temperature. When the nucleoid sedimentation technique was applied, enhancement or reduction of radiation-induced DNA strand breaks by caffeine was also found to be dependent on temperature and caffeine concentration. It is proposed that caffeine, in addition to its suspected ability to influence DNA repair, can also influence the induction of DNA damage, leading to alterations in the yield of chromosomal aberrations.

MeSH terms

  • Caffeine / toxicity*
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • DNA Repair / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Temperature


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Caffeine