Oxidative DNA Damage Assessed by Concentrations of 8-Oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine in the Cell


Oxidative damage of DNA has been implicated as a fundamental cause of the physiologic changes and degenerative diseases associated with aging.  When DNA is impacted by oxidative stress, the chemical 8-Oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) is produced as a byproduct.

Becasue 8-oxo-dG is a major product of DNA oxidation, concentrations of 8-oxo-dG within a cell is a ubiquitous marker and measurement of oxidative stress. 

8-oxo-dG increases with age in DNA of mammalian tissues.  1   8-oxo-dG increases in both mitochonndrial DNA and nuclear DNA with age.  2  DNA is probably the most biologically significant target of oxidative attack and may be implicated in aging, carcinogenesis and other degenerative diseases.  Environmental factors, lifestyle choices such as smoking and recreational drugs, and some pharmaceuticals have also been associated with elevated urine levels of 8-oxo-dG.   For example, according to multiple regression analysis, smokers excreted 50% (31–69%; 95% confidence interval) more 8-oxo-dG than non-smokers.  The results suggest that smoking increases oxidative DNA damage by ∼50%.  3

Exposure to various environmental factors can increase 8-oxo-dG. These environmental factors include, but are not limited to:

  • ionizing radiation (such as indoor radon)
  • asbestos
  • toxic metals
  • metal fumes (such as manganese, chromium and vanadium)
  • diesel exhaust
  • benzene
  • styrene
  • toluene
  • zylenes

8-oxo-dG is the most frequently detected and studied oxidized nucleoside of DNA that is considered to be premutagenic due to its potential for initiation and promotion of carcinogenesis. 8-oxo-dG have been associated with numerous pathological processes including:

  • cystic fibrosis
  • atopic dermatitis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • pancreatitis
  • chronic hepatitis
  • hyperglycemia
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • bladder cancer
  • prostate cancer

8-oxo-dG can be assessed by taking a urine test issued by a licensed medical professional and administered by a qualified medical lab.  (See Informational References)

When 8-oxo-dG levels are elevated, the identity of the sources of oxidative stress should be determined and mitigated as much as possible. 

The second step to reducing 8-oxo-dG levels is to consume foods high in antioxidants and when necessary add antioxidant supplements. 

Various research studies have identified certain natural substances that have been identified to reduce levels of 8-oxo-dG:

  • Vitamin C  4
  • Coenzyme Q10  5
  • Glutathione  6
  • Tomato juice  7 
  • Allylisothiocyanate (AITC) (found in some Brassica vegetables, including cabbage, mustard, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower)   8
  • Pomegranates  9
  • Green tea  10
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid  11
  • Olive oil  12
  • Calorie restriction  13
  • Polypodium leucotomos  14