Bone marrow cells from 15 patients with normal deoxyuridine (dU) suppression test results, 3 healthy subjects, and 11 patients with megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 or folate deficiency were examined for misincorporation of uracil into DNA. Cells were incubated with [5–3H] uridine for 2 hours and their DNA extracted. The DNA was hydrolyzed to deoxyribonucleosides with DNase 1, phosphodiesterase and alkaline phosphatase, and any dU present was separated from other deoxyribonucleosides by Aminex A6 chromatography. The quantity of dU/mg DNA and the radioactivity in the dU peak/mg DNA were then calculated. The results clearly showed that there was markedly increased uracil misincorporation into the DNA of vitamin B12- or folate-deficient marrow cells. Misincorporation of uracil into DNA may be an important biochemical lesion underlying both the megaloblastic change and the ineffectiveness of hematopoiesis in vitamin B12 and folate deficiency.

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