Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been shown to increase the frequency of chromosome aberrations, primarily chromatid‐type, in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). Because HCMV persists in most humans, pathologically activates cells, and may perturb the cell cycle, we investigated the possibility that HCMV‐infected cells have a modified sensitivity to chromosome damage induced by genotoxic chemicals. Uninfected PBLs exposed to bleomycin (3 to 100 μg/ml) demonstrated a linear increase in the frequency of chromosome aberrations. HCMV infection of PBLs at an intensity that did not cause detectable damage followed by exposure to the same concentrations of bleomycin resulted in a significant enhancement (p < 0.01) in the frequency of chromosome aberrations relative to the effect of bleomycin alone. A more than additive enhancement of the frequency of chromosome aberrations was also noted in HCMV‐infected PBLs exposed to 4‐hydroxyaminoquinoline‐1‐oxide (4‐HAQO; 0.1 to 0.3 μg/ml) relative to uninfected cells treated with 4‐HAQO alone. No increase in the percentage of aberrant cells or the frequency of chromosome aberrations was observed in HCMV‐infected cells treated with 4‐nitroquinoline‐1‐oxide (4‐NQO) relative to similarly treated uninfected PBLs. These results suggest that HCMV can potentiate the induction of chromosome aberrations in human PBLs caused by potent DNA damaging agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis