Folic Acid Decreases Astrocyte Apoptosis by Preventing Oxidative Stress-Induced Telomere Attrition.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Dec 20 ;21(1). Epub 2019 Dec 20. PMID: 31861819
Astrocytes are the most widely distributed cells in the brain, and astrocyte apoptosis may play an important role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Folate is required for the normal development of the nervous system, but its effect on astrocyte apoptosis is unclear. In this study, we hypothesized that folic acid (the therapeutic form of folate) decreases astrocyte apoptosis by preventing oxidative stress-induced telomere attrition. Primary cultures of astrocytes were incubated for 12 days with various concentrations of folic acid (0-40μmol/L), then cell proliferation, apoptosis, intracellular folate concentration, intracellular homocysteine (Hcy) concentration, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, telomeric DNA oxidative damage, and telomere length were determined. The results showed that folic acid deficiency decreased intracellular folate, cell proliferation, and telomere length, whereas it increased Hcy concentration, ROS levels, telomeric DNA oxidative damage, and apoptosis. In contrast, folic acid dose-dependently increased intracellular folate, cell proliferation, and telomere length but it decreased Hcy concentration, ROS levels, telomeric DNA oxidative damage, and apoptosis. In conclusion, folic acid inhibited apoptosis in astrocytes. The underlying mechanism for this protective effect may be that folic acid decreased oxidative stress and thereby prevented telomeric DNA oxidative damage and telomere attrition.