The cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome (CBMN-Cyt) assay was originally developed as an ideal system for measuring DNA damage, cytostasis and cytotoxicity. The objective of the present study is to simultaneously evaluate the background levels of micronuclei (MN), nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs), nuclear buds (NBUDs), cell death (necrosis or apoptosis) and nuclear division index (NDI) in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of non-occupationally exposed, healthy subjects living in the city of Kayseri in Turkey. We used the CBMN-Cyt assay, taking into account factors - age, gender, and smoking habits - that might affect MN frequency and also other CBMN-Cyt assay parameters. Ninety-six healthy subjects (48 female and 48 male) were selected with ages varying between 21 and 60 years. The parameters, except for the number of binucleated (BN) cells with NPBs, showed no statistically significant difference between smokers and non-smokers. There were significant differences between female and male groups in MN frequency (higher in females) and in the number of NPBs (lower in females), while the other parameters were not significantly different between genders. The correlations between years of age and MN frequency, number of NPBs and the frequency of necrotic cells were statistically significant, while the correlations between the years of age and the other parameters were not. The results of the correlation analysis between years of smoking and MN frequency were positive, although no statistically significant correlation was found between the years of smoking and the other parameters. Among the smokers, no correlation was found either between the pack-years of smoking and the parameters assessed in this group. The results of the present study provide evidence of increasing MN frequency, number of NPBs and frequency of necrotic cells with increasing age in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of healthy individuals and influencing MN frequency and number of NPBs by gender. (c) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.