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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Urinary thymidine dimer as a marker of total body burden of UV-inflicted DNA damage in humans.

High levels of DNA damage are induced in human skin following exposure to UV radiation. Cyclobutane thymidine dimer (T = T) is the most common of these lesions, which are enzymatically removed as oligonucleotides from DNA and further degraded before excretion in urine. Analysis of such repair products in the urine could serve as a biomarker of total body burden of UV exposure. The aim of this study was to examine the kinetics of T = T excretion following a single tanning session in a commercial solarium and to validate the method by delivering different doses. Ten individuals used the solarium for a total of 35 sessions of body tanning. Urine was collected before UV exposure and daily thereafter (up to 5 or 11 days) and T = T was analyzed using a very sensitive and quantitative (32)P-postlabeling technique combined with high-performance liquid chromatography. Following exposure, T = T levels increased dramatically and reached a peak 3 days later; afterwards, the T = T levels gradually decreased. The total amount of T = T excreted differed about 5-fold among subjects given an equal dose. A 50% excretion time was calculated using the excretion data for the first 5 days and it was found to be between 55 and 76 hours for different individuals. There was a good correlation between the amount of T = T excreted during days 1 to 5 and the delivered UV dose. Reducing exposure time to 50% lowered the amount of T = T to 47%; if half of the lamps were covered, T = T decreased to 44%. Our data show that urinary T = T could be a suitable noninvasive biomarker for UV exposure; a finding which could also be applicable to studies in children.[1]


  1. Urinary thymidine dimer as a marker of total body burden of UV-inflicted DNA damage in humans. Kotova, N., Hemminki, K., Segerbäck, D. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. (2005) [Pubmed]
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