Histological alterations following short-term smokeless tobacco exposure in humans

Jeffrey B. Payne, Georgia K. Johnson, Richard A. Reinhardt, Marian Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the histological changes following short-term smokeless tobacco application in humans. Sixteen smokeless tobacco-using subjects participated in this trial. Each subject had used at least 3 cans of snuff per week for the previous 2 yr and had an existing lesion at the site of habitual snuff placement. The experimental design included subject placement of moist snuff (University of Kentucky reference tobacco brand 1S3) at a new site in the mandibular arch. At either 2 or 7 d, biopsies were taken from the new lesions and from a non-placement site in the opposing arch. The volume density of inflammatory cells was determined by point counting. Keratin and epithelial thickness were evaluated by digitizing morphometry. Data were analyzed by repeated measures analysis of variance. In 7-d lesions, increased keratin thickness was observed at the new sites compared to the non-placement sites (p=0.05). Increased volume density of fibroblasts (p=0.027) and decreased volume densities of macrophages (p= 0.0083) and mast cells (p=0.05) were observed at 2 d in new versus non-placement sites. Clinically, the new sites showed erythema, erythema plus ulceration, or white striations. This study demonstrated histological and clinical changes at new snuff placement sites in as few as 2-7 d, underscoring the rapidity of tissue alterations following snuff use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-279
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1998


  • Clinical study
  • Histology
  • Keratin thickness
  • Smokeless tobacco (snuff)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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