Chromosomal damage can affect the immune system by altering the expression of genes that encode a family of immune regulators known as Toll-like receptors (TLRs), report scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Menendez D et al. PLoS Genet. 2011;7:e1001360).
When investigators treated lymphocytes from 18 healthy individuals with anticancer agents (nutlin, ionizing radiation, fluorouracil, and doxorubicin), all genes encoding TLRs showed responses to DNA damage, and most were mediated by the tumor suppressor p53.
Hampton T. DNA Damage and Immunity. JAMA. 2011;305(20):2056. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.682