SUMMARY: Incubation of human polymorphonuclear leucocytes (HPMN) with elementary bodies (EB) or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) resulted in the production of superoxide anions (O−) and hydrogen peroxide (HO). Exposure of HeLa cells to EB- or PMA- activated HPMN and to EB alone, for 2h, resulted in the formation of DNA strand scissions (nicks) in the HeLa cells. The nicks were visualized by incorporation of biotin 11-dUTP with its detection by streptavidin-peroxidase, and quantified by using [H]dCTP in the nuclear nick-translation reaction. Catalase, and to a lesser extent superoxide dismutase, reduced the amount of nicks induced by the EB- or PMA-activated HPMN. The possible relationship between the activity of PMN in chlamydial infections and the development of chronic diseases is discussed.


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