Folic acid and its derivatives are important mediators in growth-related cellular processes. The concentration of folate and two folate-dependent enzymes, 10-formyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (10-FTHFS) and 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (10-FTHFDH), was determined in brain regions over the early period of rat development. Folate concentrations determined at birth were high in all brain regions studied. During the first 2 weeks, folate concentrations declined steadily, followed by a period of significant increase. High and invariant activity of 10-FTHFS was found throughout the period of study. Low amounts of 10-FTHFDH were seen for the first 2 weeks, but increased significantly from postnatal days 14 to 28. These changes correlated with changes determined in the concentration of folate, supporting the idea that this protein is involved with folate uptake and/or storage. Furthermore, immunohistochemical expression of 10-FTHFDH in different rat brain regions revealed glial cells as a preferential cellular location for this folate-binding protein.

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