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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28599. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028599. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Biochemical and molecular mechanisms of folate transport in rat pancreas; interference with ethanol ingestion.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India.


Folic acid is an essential nutrient that is required for one-carbon biosynthetic processes and for methylation of biomolecules. Deficiency of this micronutrient leads to disturbances in normal physiology of cell. Chronic alcoholism is well known to be associated with folate deficiency which is due, in part to folate malabsorption. The present study deals with the mechanistic insights of reduced folate absorption in pancreas during chronic alcoholism. Male Wistar rats were fed 1 g/kg body weight/day ethanol (20% solution) orally for 3 months and the mechanisms of alcohol associated reduced folate uptake was studied in pancreas. The folate transport system in the pancreatic plasma membrane (PPM) was found to be acidic pH dependent one. The transporters proton coupled folate transporter (PCFT) and reduced folate carrier (RFC) are involved in folate uptake across PPM. The folate transporters were found to be associated with lipid raft microdomain of the PPM. Ethanol ingestion decreased the folate transport by reducing the levels of folate transporter molecules in lipid rafts at the PPM. The decreased transport efficiency of the PPM was reflected as reduced folate levels in pancreas. The chronic ethanol ingestion led to decreased pancreatic folate uptake. The decreased levels of PCFT and RFC expression in rat PPM were due to decreased association of these proteins with lipid rafts (LR) at the PPM.

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