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Pesquisa Odontológica Brasileira

Print version ISSN 1517-7491


REIS, Silvia Regina de Almeida et al. Genotoxic effect of ethanol on oral mucosa cells. Pesqui. Odontol. Bras. [online]. 2002, vol.16, n.3, pp.221-225. ISSN 1517-7491.

Ethanol is one of the chemicals related to the development of oral malignant neoplasms. Micronuclei are chromatin fragments which, after aberrant mitoses, do not become included in the main nucleus. They have been used as indicators of genotoxic damage in cells exposed to carcinogens. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of micronuclei in exfoliated cells from the tongue and buccal mucosa of alcoholic individuals. Samples were taken from the tongue and buccal mucosa of 40 alcoholic individuals who did not smoke, and from 20 alcohol and tobacco abstainers. Cells were stained with the Feulgen reaction and counterstained with Fast Green. A significant increase in the frequency of micronuclei in tongue cells was found in the group of subjects exposed to alcohol, when compared to the control group (p < 0.01). The frequency of micronuclei in buccal mucosa cells was higher in the group of alcoholic individuals, when compared to the control group, although there was no significant difference (p > 0.05). Our results indicate that excessive alcohol consumption may induce effective alterations on oral mucosa cells, even without exposure to tobacco. These alterations are more expressive in the tongue, which is a site more exposed to the action of carcinogens, when compared to the buccal mucosa.

Keywords : Mouth neoplasms; Ethanol; Micronuclei.

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