Effect of smoking on folate levels in buccal mucosal cells

C. J. Piyathilake, R. J. Hine, A. P. Dasanayake, E. W. Richards, L. E. Freeberg, W. H. Vaughn, C. L. Krumdieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of the study was to document the existence of localized deficiency of folate in a tissue exposed to cigarette smoke, by analysis of oral and circulatory levels of this vitamin in smokers and non‐smokers. Buccal mucosal cells and blood samples were collected from 25 smokers and 34 non‐smokers. The Health Habits and History Questionnaire was completed by each subject. A 96‐well plate L. casei assay, along with preincubation with a folate‐free chick pancreas pteroyl‐gamma‐glutamyl hydrolase, was used to quantitate total buccal mucosal cell folates. The reproducibility (CV 5 to 7%) and recovery (95 to 106%) of the folate assay were satisfactory. Smokers had significantly lower buccal mucosal cell folate levels than did non‐smokers. The mean plasma folate level of smokers although within normal limits, was also significantly lower than that of non‐smokers. There were no significant differences in mean dietary folate intake or in alcohol consumption between the 2 groups. The strength of the positive association between smoking and plasma and buccal mucosal cell folate deficiency (by any definition) was moderate to strong and statistically significant. Our results indicate that cigarette smoking may result in a localized folate deficiency in buccal mucosal cells, independent of the plasma folate levels. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-569
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 21 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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