Date of Award

Winter 5-7-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

B.S.

Department

Nutrition and Food Science

Faculty Advisor

Diane Cabelof

Abstract

Folate is the naturally occurring form of water-soluble B vitamin that is found in foods such as leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc. Dietary supplementation of folate has shown to be protective against neural tube defects and other congenital disorders, and of recent, its role in carcinogenesis has been of special interest. Though mechanistically unclear, a positive correlation has been observed between folate deficiency in the diet and decrease function of DNA base excision repair pathways. DNA base excision repair, commonly referred to as BER, is an important cellular process that is responsible for the removal and repair of individual damaged nitrogenous bases, effectively restoring proper DNA sequence and stability. Folate is believed to be somehow involved in the mechanisms by which BER enzymes function. It has been shown in animal model studies that by decreasing folate in the diet, the cell’s capability for BER is also decreased. Interestingly, more recent studies have indicated that under specific conditions folate deficiency may be associated with an up-regulation of apoptotic activity, suggesting a potential for therapeutic application of folate deficient diets. Further research is still needed, especially in the determining the specific mechanism by which folate affects BER and the enzymes associated with this pathway.

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