Previous results have suggested that methotrexate (MTX) could interfere with the repair of spontaneous DNA damage. To determine its effects on induced DNA damage, MTX was compared to hydroxyurea and arabinofuranosylcytosine (H/A), a drug combination known to block the DNA polymerase step of excision repair, for its ability to cause the accumulation of single-strand breaks (SSB) following exposure to either UV light or the alkylating agent ethylmethanesulfonate in Chinese hamster ovary cells. SSB were measured by alkaline elution 1, 2, and 6 h after exposure to either 1.8 mg/ml of ethylmethanesulfonate or 10 J/m2 of UV in cells pretreated with MTX or H/A. Following exposure to ethylmethanesulfonate, significant accumulation of SSB occurred in cells pretreated with either H/A or MTX. Coadministration of hypoxanthine and thymidine in MTX-treated cells prevented SSB accumulation, indicating that nucleotide depletion by MTX had inhibited repair synthesis. After UV irradiation, SSB accumulation was much less in MTX- than in H/A-treated cells. MTX was found to have no effect on the incision of UV damage. These results indicate that nucleotide depletion by MTX can affect the repair of DNA damage by exogenous agents, and that the extent of inhibition is dependent on the type of damage induced.


From a dissertation presented by A. H. B. to the Department of Pharmacology, the George Washington University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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