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Dev Biol. 2015 Sep 1;405(1):108-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.07.001. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

The role of folate metabolism in orofacial development and clefting.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1000 West Cary St., Richmond, VA 23284, United States.
2
Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1000 West Cary St., Richmond, VA 23284, United States. Electronic address: ajdickinson@vcu.edu.

Abstract

Folate deficiency has been associated with numerous diseases and birth defects including orofacial defects. However, whether folate has a role in the face during early orofacial development has been unclear. The present study reveals that pharmacological and antisense oligonucleotide mediated inhibition of DHFR, an integral enzyme in the folate pathway, results in specific changes in the size and shape of the midface and embryonic mouth. Such defects are accompanied by a severe reduction in the muscle and cartilage jaw elements without significant change in neural crest pattern or global levels of methylation. We propose that the orofacial defects associated with DHFR deficient function are the result of decreased cell proliferation and increased cell death via DNA damage. In particular, localized apoptosis may also be depleting the cells of the face that express crucial genes for the differentiation of the jaw structures. Folate supplementation is widely known to reduce human risk for orofacial clefts. In the present study, we show that activating folate metabolism can reduce median oral clefts in the primary palate by increasing cell survival. Moreover, we demonstrate that a minor decrease in DHFR function exacerbates median facial clefts caused by RAR inhibition. This work suggests that folate deficiencies could be a major contributing factor to multifactorial orofacial defects.

KEYWORDS:

DHFR; Folate; Orofacial development; Retinoic acid and primary palate; Xenopus

PMID:
26144049
PMCID:
PMC4546841
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.07.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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