Tritiated thymidine incorporation does not measure DNA synthesis in ribavirin-treated human cells

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Science  01 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4494, pp. 549-551
DOI: 10.1126/science.7209549


When the incorporation of tritiated thymidine into acid insoluble material was measured, ribavirin appeared to be a potent inhibitor of DNA synthesis in KB cells and human lymphocytes. Inhibition was nearly 100-fold less, however, when DNA synthesis was measured by incorporation of phosphorus-32-labeled phosphate or by DNA fluorescence. The potent inhibition detected by incorporation of tritiated thymidine into DNA actually was the result of a potent effect on the labeling of deoxythymidine triphosphate, not on the synthesis of DNA.