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Current Molecular Medicine


ISSN (Print): 1566-5240
ISSN (Online): 1875-5666

Folic Acid, Neurodegenerative and Neuropsychiatric Disease

Author(s): Golo Kronenberg, Michael Colla and Matthias Endres

Volume 9, Issue 3, 2009

Page: [315 - 323] Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/156652409787847146

Price: $65


Folic acid plays an important role in neuroplasticity and in the maintenance of neuronal integrity. Folate is a co-factor in one-carbon metabolism during which it promotes the regeneration of methionine from homocysteine, a highly reactive sulfur-containing amino acid. Methionine may then be converted to Sadenosylmethionine (SAM), the prinicpal methyl donor in most biosynthetic methylation reactions. On the cellular level, folate deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia exert multiple detrimental effects. These include induction of DNA damage, uracil misincorporation into DNA and altered patterns of DNA methylation. Low folate status and elevated homocysteine increase the generation of reactive oxygen species and contribute to excitotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction which may lead to apoptosis. Strong epidemiological and experimental evidence links derangements of one-carbon metabolism to vascular, neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease, including most prominently cerebral ischemia, Alzheimers dementia and depression. Although firm evidence from controlled clinical trials is largely lacking, B-vitamin supplementation and homocysteine reduction may have a role especially in the primary prevention of stroke and dementia as well as as an adjunct to antidepressant pharmacotherapy.

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