Navigation Links
Folic acid deficiency has multigenerational effects
Date:9/27/2013

Researchers from the universities of Calgary and Cambridge, UK, have discovered that a mutation in a gene necessary for the metabolism of folic acid not only impacts immediate offspring but can also have detrimental health effects, such as spina bifida and heart abnormalities, on subsequent generations. The animal study, published this week in the journal Cell, also sheds light on the molecular mechanism of folic acid (also known as folate) during development.

About one in 1,200 children are born with spina bifida. The detrimental effects of folic acid deficiency during pregnancy on development are well known. As a result Canada, and many other countries, have implemented folate fortification programs which require folic acid to be added to cereal products. The aim has been to reduce the incidence of developmental problems, including spina bifida. However, until now, very little was known about how folic acid deficiency caused the diverse range of health problems in offspring.

"Fortification programs have reduced the risk of health effects but not eliminated them completely," says Dr. Jay Cross, with the faculties of medicine and veterinary medicine. "Based on our research, we now believe that it may take more than one generation to eliminate the health problems caused by folate deficiency. In addition, we need to be thinking not just about our own genes and how they impact our health and development, but also those of our descendents."

Cross, also a member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, co-authored the study with Dr. Erica Watson from the University of Cambridge. Watson is a University of Calgary alumna and started the work during her PhD studies with Cross before moving to Cambridge.

Researchers from the university used mice for the study because their folic acid metabolism is very similar to humans. This enabled the researchers to explore how the molecular mechanism of folic acid deficiency impacted development, thereby causing developmental problems.

Dr. Roy Gravel, also a co-author of the study and member of the Alberta Childrens' Hospital Research Institute says this study provides a tremendous opportunity to look at the prevention of diseases like spina bifida. "The work began as a study of a gene called Mtrr in mice. The goal was to shed light on how a mutation in Mtrr would affect folate metabolism. The multigeneral effect we observed was completely unexpected," says Gravel.

The Mtrr gene encodes an enzyme that is key to the metabolism of folic acid and, when mutated, causes similar effects to dietary folic acid deficiency. The researchers found that when either the maternal grandmother or the maternal grandfather had this Mtrr mutation, their genetically normal grandchildren were at risk of a wide spectrum of developmental abnormalities, even if the mutated gene was not inherited through to the next generations.

These developmental abnormalities were also seen in the fourth and fifth generations of mice.

Through a series of experiments, researchers discovered that the developmental abnormalities were not passed down genetically. Instead, the defects were the result of "epigenetic" changes, which had been inherited. Epigenetics is a process which turns genes on and off through chemical modifications to DNA without changing the genetic code itself. Epigenetic inheritance refers to the passing along of these epigenetic marks as cells divide during development. It had been previously thought that epigenetic modifications were, for the most part, 'wiped clean' after each generation.

The researchers hypothesize that, for a yet unknown reason, some of these abnormal epigenetic marks caused by the Mtrr mutation escape this normal erasure and are inherited by the next generation. If the abnormal epigenetic marks that regulate genes important for development are inherited, then these generations may develop abnormalities as a result of the wrong genes being turned on or off.

"There have been several recent studies implicating folate in different types of human diseases, not just developmental abnormalities, and so our work provides insights into potential biochemical mechanism but also adds a layer of complexity in thinking about transgenerational effects of folate," says Cross.

"This was a very complex study and initially controversial for some. As a result, we could not have accomplished this work without key collaborations both here in Calgary and Cambridge."


'/>"/>

Contact: Gloria Visser-Niven
gvissern@ucalgary.ca
403-210-6615
University of Calgary
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Folic Acid Supplements Dont Affect Cancer Risk, Review Finds
2. Lower autism risk with folic acid supplements in pregnancy
3. Folic Acid in Pregnancy May Lower Autism Risk
4. Vitamin D deficiency and poorer lung function in asthmatic children treated with steroids
5. New Immune-Deficiency Illness Emerging in East Asia
6. Gestational exposure to urban air pollution linked to vitamin D deficiency in newborns
7. Health Issues Add to Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency, Study Says
8. Vitamin D deficiency linked to Type 1 diabetes
9. ZijaExtreme.com Researches Vitamin D Deficiency & Using a More Natural Approach
10. Vitamin deficiency screening needed for refugees
11. Deficiency in p53 anti-tumor protein delays DNA repair after radiation, Moffitt researchers say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... Medic CE , a ... Truth about Pediatric Septic Shock” hosted by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS). ... Eastern time, will be presented by Captain Rommie Duckworth, LP, a career fire captain ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... If you are thinking of a visit to San Francisco , fall ... the perfect time to visit. , Business Architecture Associates is pleased to offer 5 days ... as a 4-½ day package for individuals, and as 4-½ day corporate package for up ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... ... Lowe is a sought after actor, and also serves as the host of the ... all aspects of life, and a new segment is being developed on podiatry, which ... is essential to people’s overall well-being, and if viewers have feet problems, they may ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... Falls, Wisconsin (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2017 ... ... leader in clean label food ingredient solutions for the food and beverage industry ... factor in food ingredient statements during the purchasing decision process. As a result, ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... Dymedix® Diagnostics, Inc., ... today it had completed the first phase of building a global distribution network. ... of world (ROW) authorized dealers specializing in polysomnography accessories. The company plans ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017   Provista , a proven ... than 200,000 customers, today announced Jim Cunniff as ... of executive and business experience to Provista, including most recently ... in California . He assumed his new ... is a great fit for Provista," says Jody Hatcher ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... May 4, 2017  A recent study published ... Ultraviolet-C light as a means of disinfection ... to reduce bioburden on anesthesia workstations. In the ... high-touch, complex medical equipment surfaces contaminated with three ... "This study further validates the body of ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... Pa. , May 4, 2017  A ... from thermoplastics and other highly-engineered materials, is being ... Microextrusion tubing has been developed in recent years ... interventional therapies and surgical applications. More expensive materials ... to produce microextrusion tubing due to their ability ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: