There have been conflicting reports about the capacity of lymphocytes from individuals with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) to undertake u.v.-induced DNA repair. We have examined repair in CLL cells and in control and age-matched purified B and T lymphocytes by a technique independent of incorporation of radioactive precursor, i.e. by the recovery of normal sedimentation behaviour of nucleoid bodies obtained from these cells by lysis in high salt and non-ionic detergent. Recovery of normal sedimentation is associated with restoration of DNA supercoiling. CLL cells were found to be as sensitive to u.v. and to repair at similar rates as age-matched B controls. They are considerably more sensitive than young B cells and repair less efficiently. Reasons for the reported discrepancies in CLL repair are discussed.

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