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Disease Markers
Volume 2014, Article ID 956835, 13 pages
Review Article

Potential Uses, Limitations, and Basic Procedures of Micronuclei and Nuclear Abnormalities in Buccal Cells

1Programa Internacional, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, 45129 Zapopan, JAL, Mexico
2Unidad de Investigación en Epidemiología Clínica, UMAE, HE, CMNO, IMSS, Guadalajara, JAL, Mexico
3Servicio de Medicina Interna, Reumatología e Inmunología Hospital General de Occidente SSJ, Zapopan, JAL, Mexico
4Unidad Académica de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, 63155 Tepic, NAY, Mexico
5División de Ciencias Veterinarias, Departamento Salud Pública, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad de Guadalajara, 45221 Zapopan, JAL, Mexico

Received 28 June 2013; Revised 21 November 2013; Accepted 27 November 2013; Published 4 February 2014

Academic Editor: Marco E. M. Peluso

Copyright © 2014 Olivia Torres-Bugarín et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The use of biomarkers as tools to evaluate genotoxicity is increasing recently. Methods that have been used previously to evaluate genomic instability are frequently expensive, complicated, and invasive. The micronuclei (MN) and nuclear abnormalities (NA) technique in buccal cells offers a great opportunity to evaluate in a clear and precise way the appearance of genetic damage whether it is present as a consequence of occupational or environmental risk. This technique is reliable, fast, relatively simple, cheap, and minimally invasive and causes no pain. So, it is well accepted by patients; it can also be used to assess the genotoxic effect derived from drug use or as a result of having a chronic disease. Furthermore the beneficial effects derived from changes in life style or taking additional supplements can also be evaluated. In the present paper, we aim to focus on the explanation of MN test and its usefulness as a biomarker; we further give details about procedures to perform and interpret the results of the test and review some factors that could have an influence on the results of the technique.