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News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
Date:7/7/2008

H. Wilson, Rudolf Jaenisch, and Matthias Endres

The ability of folic acid supplements to prevent neural tube defects in human development is well recognized, and folate deficiency has been linked to neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases in adults. The molecular effects of folate deficiency include increased levels of homocysteine, increased uracil incorporation into DNA, and increased DNA strand breaks due to uracil excision by uracil-DNA glycosylase (UNG). To investigate which of these molecular effects contribute most significantly to neurological effects, Kronenberg et al. examined the effects of folate deficiency in Ung knockout mice. They found that some effects of folate deficiency (notably, extensive degeneration of hippocampal CA3 neurons and increased despair- and anxiety-like behaviors) were present exclusively or were worse in UNG-deficient mice compared to wild type. Other effects (including changes in monoamine levels and decreased adult neurogenesis) were independent of genotype, suggesting that an increased presence of uracil in DNA contributes to some but not all effects of folate deficiency.


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Contact: Sara Harris
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202-962-4000
Society for Neuroscience
Source:Eurekalert

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