Objective To compare exfoliative cytology from the oral mucosa of smokers and nonsmokers, with emphasis on proliferative activity. Methods Exfoliative cytology specimens were obtained from clinical normal mucosa from the lateral border of the tongue in 30 nonsmokers and 30 smokers ranging in age from 40 to 70 years of age, who were seen at the Heart Institute’s Patient Center and the Smoking Cessation Program of the University Hospital, University of São Paulo Medical School (InCor-HCFMUSP). The cytologic specimens were evaluated by Papanicolaou staining and AgNOR quantification in order to evaluate the presence of cytological alterations suggestive of inflammation, dysplasia, keratinization, and proliferative activity of epithelial cells. Results Only Papanicolaou Class I and Class II smears were observed. Inflammatory alterations were found in 90% of smokers and in 87% of nonsmokers. The number of AgNORs/nucleus differed significantly between smokers and nonsmokers (3.372 ± 0.375 versus 2.732 ± 0.236). Conclusions Within the limitations of this research, the results indicate higher proliferative activity in smoking patients compared to nonsmoking patients, even in the absence of clinical lesions.
Cytodiagnosis Smoking Nucleolar organizer region Disease prevention Oral mucosa
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The authors would like to thank Prof. Ivan Balducci for the statistical analysis. Research supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, grant 04/10520-2) and Fundação para o Desenvolvimento da UNESP (FUNDUNESP, grant 00279/04-DFP). The publication of this article was supported by the Program for the Internationalization of Research of UNESP.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
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