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J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2019 May-Aug;23(2):301. doi: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_251_17.

Quantification of micronuclei in exfoliated cells of human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS-infected female patients.

Author information

Consultant Oral Pathologist, Central Lab, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Rishiraj College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Maitri Dental College and Research Center, Durg, Chhattisgarh, India.



Micronucleus (MN) is a biomarker for cytotoxicity, which is formed during cell division. Increased MN scoring has been successfully used to recognize population groups at risk for cancers of oral cavity, cervix, urinary bladder and esophagus. Incorporating MN score along with cytological smear testing gives a better and cost-effective screening for high-risk patients.


This study evaluated the effectiveness of using MN score assessed from Papanicolaou (PAP) smears, as a biomarker for chromosomal damage in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients.

Materials and Methods:

Oral smears of 25 female HIV/AIDS patients, without habits such as chewing or smoking tobacco, and taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) at ART center, were recruited for the study. After careful oral examination and oral rinsing with normal saline, smears were prepared on slides by scraping the buccal mucosa with a wooden spatula. All the slides were fixed in 95% ethyl alcohol and stained with PAP stain, and 1000 cells were counted per patient. Based on Tolbert et al.'s criteria, MNs were identified, and quantitative scoring of MN was done on the basis of morphological assay.


Mean ± standard deviation values of frequency of MNs in HIV-infected females were 73.40 ± 19.70 and in normal females were 38.08 ± 8.56.


MN scoring on the epithelial cells of buccal mucosa can be used as a biomarker in screening procedures for HIV patients.


Biomarker; Papanicolaou smear; human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS; micronucleus

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