DNA damage in folate deficiency

Baillieres Clin Haematol. 1995 Sep;8(3):461-78. doi: 10.1016/s0950-3536(05)80216-1.


Folate deficiency significantly increases uracil content and chromosome breaks (as measured by micronucleated cells) in human leukocyte DNA. Folate supplementation reduces both the uracil content of DNA and the frequency of micronucleated cells, indicating that uracil misincorporation may play a causative role in folate deficiency-induced chromosome breaks. A calculation is presented to explain how the levels of uracil found in DNA could cause chromosome breaks. Based on this calculation, the frequency of uracil repair events that might result in double-strand DNA breaks increases by 1752-fold. These results are consistent with clinical and epidemiological evidence linking folate deficiency to DNA damage and cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage*
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / genetics*
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Uracil


  • Uracil