Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2018

School

School of Health Sciences

Major

Biology: Biomedical Sciences

Keywords

Folate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B9, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, Cognition, Memory, Mice, Barnes Maze, Novel Object Recognition, Y-maze, Microarray

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences

Abstract

Folate has been known as an important vitamin for several decades. It is vital in development and epigenetics and is especially known for its involvement in the prevention of neural tube defects in newborns. Due to this ability, a synthetic form of folate, folic acid, was mandated by the government to be reinforced into cereals and grains. This study used a mouse model to determine the effects folic acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate have on gene expression and behavior. Since folate is known to be important for epigenetics and neuronal development, this study examined the effects of folate by applying behavioral tests to test memory and learning and a microarray analysis to test for gene expression changes. It was confirmed that folate is important for properly functioning cognition in mice. Additionally, the microarray analysis showed clear gene expression changes between the folate replete mice and the folate deficient mice. Interestingly, it was observed that the natural form of folate, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, may confer long term benefits compared to the synthetic form, although additional research is needed to confirm this.

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