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Mutagenesis. 2011 Jan;26(1):69-76. doi: 10.1093/mutage/geq072.

Effect of dietary intervention on human micronucleus frequency in lymphocytes and buccal cells.

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  • 1CSIRO Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences, PO Box 10041, 13 Kintore Avenue, Adelaide BC, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia.


Successful maintenance of accurate DNA replication and repair is critical to human health. Once this homeostatic balance is impaired, genomic instability events occur, compromising the integrity of the genome, which may initiate fundamental events leading to human diseases. Biomarkers of DNA damage, such as the micronucleus (MN) index, are elevated both in developmental and degenerative diseases and have been shown to be predictive of increased cancer risk and cardiovascular disease mortality. Several micronutrients have been identified as being effective in reducing and/or protecting against DNA damage. Micronutrients act as co-factors for enzymes required in DNA repair or maintenance of methylation patterns essential for optimal gene expression. In this review, published human intervention studies are examined with respect to the efficacy of micronutrient supplementation in reducing MN frequency in both lymphocytes and buccal cells. Important knowledge gaps and future research directions are also explored. The outcomes of these studies suggest that supplementation with antioxidant vitamins and certain B vitamins may cause a substantial reduction in MN frequency.

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