Effect of folic acid on fragile-site expression

The purpose of this study is to determine whether the level of folic acid (FA) in human blood serum affects the number of fragile sites observed in cultured T-lymphocytes. Private practice patients (Internal Medicine) who evidenced no symptoms of significant disease, but did exhibit low levels (less than 5 ng/ml) of serum FA, were asked to participate in this study; 10 consented to do so. Each provided a blood sample that was prepared for a quantitative cytological study of fragile-site expression in their dividing lymphocyte chromosomes. Then, each patient was given supplementary FA (10 mg/day) for 2 months, when a second blood sample was drawn so that an "after" fragile-site determination could be made and compared with the "before" figures. The data, as a group, show that there is a significant decrease in the number of fragile sites after FA supplementation. Evidence in the literature suggests that fragile sites on chromosomes may have a connection to cancer by predisposing to chromosome breaks and thence to rearrangements characteristic of cancer cells. Therefore, FA supplementation may not only serve to decrease fragile site expression but possibly reduce cancer incidence.

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