Short Communication

Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 78-84

Folate-deficiency induced cell-specific changes in the distribution of lymphocytes and granulocytes in rats

  • Ikumi AbeAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University
  • , Ken ShiratoAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University Email author 
  • , Yoko HashizumeAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University
  • , Ryosuke MitsuhashiAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University
  • , Ayumu KobayashiAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University
  • , Chikako ShionoAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University
  • , Shogo SatoAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda UniversityJapan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • , Kaoru TachiyashikiAffiliated withDepartment of Natural and Living Sciences, Graduate School of Education, Joetsu University of Education
  • , Kazuhiko ImaizumiAffiliated withLaboratory of Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda UniversityGlobal COE Doctoral Program, Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Waseda University

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Abstract

Objective

Folate (vitamin B9) plays key roles in cell growth and proliferation through regulating the synthesis and stabilization of DNA and RNA, and its deficiency leads to lymphocytopenia and granulocytopenia. However, precisely how folate deficiency affects the distribution of a variety of white blood cell subsets, including the minor population of basophils, and the cell specificity of the effects remain unclear. Therefore, we examined the effects of a folate-deficient diet on the circulating number of lymphocyte subsets [T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells] and granulocyte subsets (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils) in rats.

Methods

Rats were divided into two groups, with one receiving the folate-deficient diet (FAD group) and the other a control diet (CON group). All rats were pair-fed for 8 weeks.

Results

Plasma folate level was dramatically lower in the FAD group than in the CON group, and the level of homocysteine in the plasma, a predictor of folate deficiency was significantly higher in the FAD group than in the CON group. The number of T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, and NK cells was significantly lower in the FAD group than in the CON group by 0.73-, 0.49-, and 0.70-fold, respectively, indicating that B-lymphocytes are more sensitive to folate deficiency than the other lymphocyte subsets. As expected, the number of neutrophils and eosinophils was significantly lower in the FAD group than in the CON group. However, the number of basophils, the least common type of granulocyte, showed transiently an increasing tendency in the FAD group as compared with the CON group.

Conclusion

These results suggest that folate deficiency induces lymphocytopenia and granulocytopenia in a cell-specific manner.

Keywords

Dietary folate-deficiency Lymphocyte subsets Granulocyte subsets