Journal Article

Apoptosis and proliferation under conditions of deoxynucleotide pool imbalance in liver of folate/methyl deficient rats.

S J James, B J Miller, A G Basnakian, I P Pogribny, M Pogribna and L Muskhelishvili

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 18, issue 2, pages 287-293
Published in print February 1997 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Apoptosis and proliferation under conditions of deoxynucleotide pool imbalance in liver of folate/methyl deficient rats.

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Weanling male F344 rats were fed either a semi-purified diet low in methionine and lacking in choline and folic acid (folate/methyl deficient) or a supplemented control diet for periods of 2, 5, 7 days, 3 weeks, and 9 weeks. Two days after initiating the folate/methyl deficient diet in weanling F344 rats, the incidence of apoptotic bodies, identified by in situ end-labeling of 3'-OH DNA strand breaks, was significantly increased in liver sections from the deficient rats. Apoptotic cell death was confirmed biochemically by an increase in nuclear Ca2+/Mg2+-dependent endonuclease activity that paralleled the increase in apoptotic bodies over the 9-week feeding period. There was no morphologic evidence of necrotic foci or necrosis-associated inflammatory response over the 9-week period. Confirming that cell turnover is chronically elevated in this model, the increase in apoptotic rate was accompanied by a sustained increase in the mitotic index (MI). The DNA repair-associated enzyme, poly(ADPribose) polymerase (PARP), was similarly elevated and was associated with significant decreases in the substrate for ADPribose polymer synthesis, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Because folate metabolites are essential for de novo purine and thymidine biosynthesis, prolonged deficiency in folic acid can induce an imbalance in the deoxynucleotide precursors for DNA replication/repair and negatively affect the fidelity of DNA synthesis. Using an HPLC method, hepatic deoxyuridine triphosphate (dUTP) levels were increased at 3 and 9 weeks after initiation of the deficient diet and levels of thymidine triphosphate (dTTP) were reduced. An increase in dUTP/ dTTP ratio is consistent with a block in folate-dependent de novo thymidylate biosynthesis and may predispose to uracil misincorporation and DNA repair-related DNA strand breaks.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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