Distress and DNA repair in human lymphocytes
This research assessed differences in DNA repair in lymphocytes from high-and low-distressed individuals. A median split on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Scale 2 divided 28 newly admitted nonpsychotic psychiatric inpatients into high- and low-distress subgroups. The high-distress subgroup had significantly poorer DNA repair in lymphocytes exposed to X-irradiation than low-distress subjects. We also found that lymphocytes obtained from this psychiatric sample had significantly poorer DNA repair than lymphocytes from nonpsychiatric control subjects when compared 5 hr after X-irradiation. A high level of distress therefore appears to be associated with significant dysfunctional differences at the molecular level which may have important implications for health. These data provide evidence for a direct pathway through which distress could influence the incidence of cancer.