Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 311–320 | Cite as

Distress and DNA repair in human lymphocytes

  • Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser
  • Ralph E. Stephens
  • Philip D. Lipetz
  • Carl E. Speicher
  • Ronald Glaser


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.

Key words

distress DNA repair psychoimmunology stress 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser
    • 1
  • Ralph E. Stephens
    • 2
    • 3
  • Philip D. Lipetz
    • 4
  • Carl E. Speicher
    • 5
  • Ronald Glaser
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryThe Ohio State University, College of MedicineColumbus
  2. 2.Departments of Radiology, Pathology, and ZoologyThe Ohio State University, College of MedicineColumbus
  3. 3.The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State University, College of MedicineColumbus
  4. 4.General Molecular Applications, Inc.The Ohio State University, College of MedicineColumbus
  5. 5.Department of PathologyThe Ohio State University, College of MedicineColumbus
  6. 6.Department of Medical Microbiology and ImmunologyThe Ohio State University, College of MedicineColumbus

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