Biomarkers : biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals

Levels of 5-hydroxymethyl-2'-deoxyuridine in DNA from women participating in an intervention trial of low-fat and low-energy diets.

PMID 15204314


Oxidative DNA damage in blood appears to be useful as a marker of systemic oxidative stress levels. Dietary factors such as fat and energy intakes have been indicated to affect oxidative stress levels, and this may be an important mechanism by which diet can modulate cancer risk. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary intervention in premenopausal women on the levels of one type of oxidative DNA damage: 5-hydroxymethyl-2'-deoxyuridine. The trial randomly assigned women to control, low-fat, low-energy or combination low-fat/low-energy diets for 12 weeks. Blood samples were obtained every 2 weeks, and DNA was analysed for the levels of 5-hydroxymethyl-2'-deoxyuridine. Levels of DNA damage declined with time in each diet arm, including the control arm. The decreases were greater in the two arms with low-energy intake, but not significantly so. The numbers of women who exhibited decreased 5-hydroxymethyl-2'-deoxyuridine levels at 12 weeks versus baseline levels, however, was significantly greater in women assigned to any intervention diet (79%) than in the control arm (50%). Low-fat and low-energy diets therefore had a small effect on changes in oxidative DNA damage levels. The women participating in this study were not selected on the basis of increased cancer risk; therefore, they may have had low baseline levels of damage that were not amenable to further reduction by dietary change.