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Sister Chromatid Exchanges – Human Lymphocytes. A look through the Lens.

Dr. Krishnaja A.P.

17th October 2009

Ploem - Costumes of medieval clowns. “Oh Harlequin chromosomes” (Wolff S)

SCE scored in second division cells

Chemical induced SCE.

DNA repair. SCE - DNA template exchange during strand synthesis.

Divide and Multiply I, II, III, IV……..

Cytotoxicity check / Proliferation rate index / Cell cycle kinetics.

Differential staining pattern of sister chromatids gives clue to the number of times a cell has
divided in culture.
I- All chromosomes both sister chromatids stained uniformly darkly.

II- Harlequin chromosomes with one chromatid darkly stained and sister chromatid lightly stained.

III- some harlequin chromosomes (15–30 chromosomes) and other chromosomes with both sister chromatids
stained uniformly lightly.

IV- some chromosomes show the light and dark pattern (7–13 chromosomes), and the rest with both sister
chromatids stained uniformly lightly.
SCE assay: Mainly used in human lymphocytes and cell lines.

Applications in the fields of Genetic Toxicology, Biomonitoring, Epidemiology.

A cytogenetic biomarker to assess exposure to carcinogenic or mutagenic agents in occupational


Applicable to any cells able to divide twice (2 S-phases) in culture in the presence of analogues
of thymidine such as bromodeoxyuridine(BrdU).

The health significance of increased levels of SCE still poorly understood.