Maternal intake of folic acid and neural crest stem cells

Mayanil, C. S.; Ichi, S.; Farnell, B. M.; Boshnjaku, V.; Tomita, T.; McLone, D. G.

Vitam Horm. 2011 Dec 1; 87:143-73


Maternal folic acid (FA) intake has beneficial effects in preventing neural tube defects and may also play a role in the prevention of adult onset diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, neuropsychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and cerebral ischemia. This review will focus on the effects of maternal FA intake on neural crest stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Although FA is generally considered beneficial, it has the potential of promoting cell proliferation at the expense of differentiation. In some situations, this may lead to miscarriage or postnatal developmental abnormalities. Therefore, a blind approach such as "FA for everyone" is not necessarily the best course of action. Ultimately, the best approach for FA supplementation, and potentially other nutritional supplements, will include customized patient genomic profiles for determining dose and duration.

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