Folate affects apoptosis in human trophoblastic cells

Authors

  • R. P. M. Steegers-Theunissen,

    Clinical Epidemiologist, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St Radboud, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Epidemiology, University Hospital Nijmegen St Radboud, The Netherlands
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  • S. C. Smith,

    Research Fellow
    1. Department of School of Human Development, City Hospital, University of Nottingham
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  • E. A. P. Steegers,

    Associate Professor (Obstetrics)
    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St Radboud, The Netherlands
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  • L. J. Guilbert,

    Professor (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)
    1. Department of Perinatal Research Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
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  • P. N. Baker

    Professor of Obstetrics
    1. Department of School of Human Development, City Hospital, University of Nottingham
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Correspondence: Dr R. P. M. Steegers-Theunissen, Departments of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Epidemiology, University Hospital Nijmegen St Radboud, Nijmegen, P. O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Effects of folate deficiency on the rate of apoptosis in human cytotrophoblastic cells has been investigated. Apoptosis was determined in cytotrophoblastic cells after culture in 1. control medium, 2. folate-free medium and 3. folate-free medium plus 10% fetal calf serum. Apoptosis rates in cells cultured in mediums 2 and 3 were significantly higher than those cultured in the control medium (P < 0.02 and P < 0.03, respectively). In conclusion, human cytotrophoblastic cells show a significantly increased rate of apoptosis in vitro after culture in a folate-free medium. Possible explanations for the association between folate deficiency and pregnancy complications are suggested.

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