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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1988 Jun 1;80(7):525-9.

Association of marginal folate depletion with increased human chromosomal damage in vivo: demonstration by analysis of micronucleated erythrocytes.

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Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.


Recent studies have demonstrated that in the absence of spleen function, frequencies of micronuclei (Howell-Jolly bodies) in peripheral blood rbcs can be used to measure in vivo cytogenetic damage. Among 20 subjects studied greater than or equal to 6 months after splenectomy, 1 had a frequency of micronucleated rbcs more than an order of magnitude higher than rates for the others. Initial data suggested that this subject was mildly folate-depleted, and a therapeutic trial with folate rapidly reduced the frequency of micronucleated rbcs to normal values. These observations suggest a need to evaluate further the contribution of mild levels of folate depletion to spontaneous chromosomal damage. The approach used here provides a sensitive index of clastogenic damage and offers unique opportunities for investigating the determinants of cytogenetic damage in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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