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Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;56(2):83-90. doi: 10.1159/000275945. Epub 2010 Jan 19.

Effects of dietary folic acid on the expression of myelin basic protein in the brain and spinal cord of pregnant and lactating rats.

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Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.



This study investigated the effects of dietary folic acid on the expression of myelin basic protein (MBP) in the maternal brain and spinal cord during pregnancy and lactation.


Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a folic-acid-supplemented diet (FS, 8 mg/kg diet) or a folic-acid-deficient diet (FD, 0 mg/kg diet) from 2 weeks prior to mating until the end of lactation. The expressions of MBP were analyzed using Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry, and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), and neuronal nuclear antigen by immunohistochemistry.


The cerebrocortical expression of MBP was 87% higher at day 20 of pregnancy than before pregnancy in FS animals (p < 0.05) but did not change significantly in FD animals. No significant change was observed in the hippocampus or spinal cord in either dietary treatment group. The cerebrocortical MOG and NeuN expressions were significantly lower in FD animals than in FS animals before pregnancy and increased at day 20 of pregnancy but did not differ with the dietary folic acid level.


Folic acid deficiency did not increase the expression level of MBP in the cerebral cortex during pregnancy, suggesting that folate intake during pregnancy plays an important role in the maintenance of myelin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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