Folate plays a critical role in maintaining normal metabolic, energy, differentiation and growth status of all mammalian cells. The disturbances in body folate homeostasis such as intestinal malabsorption in alcoholism are well-known contributor to folate deficiency associated disorders. The study was sought to delineate the kinetic features of folate transport in intestinal absorptive epithelium that could highlight insights of malabsorption during alcoholism. We studied [3H]-folic acid transport in intestinal brush border membrane (BBM) after 3 months of ethanol administration at 1 g/kg body weight/day to rats. The results showed that the folate transport exhibited saturable kinetics and was pH, Na+, temperature, divalent cation sensitive, besides –SH group(s) was/were found important in the folate transport system to be efficiently operative. Importantly, the decreased intestinal BBM folate transport in chronic alcoholism was associated with increased Km and decreased Vmax during alcoholism. In addition, S–S group status of the transporter and presence of Na+ at the absorptive site seems to be perturbed during ethanol ingestion. However, H+/folate− coupled transport provided the driving force for transport as pH optimum in acidic range was not altered during alcoholism. The inhibition constants of methotrexate and unlabelled folic acid revealed that the two analogues are handled differently by the folate transport system. In addition, the low activity of folate transport system during chronic ethanol exposure was associated with low RBC folate levels. Overall, these findings suggest that the deregulated folate transport kinetics might contribute to intestinal folate malabsorption in alcoholism.
Transport Malabsorption Folic acid Brush border membrane Alcohol
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Financial assistance by the Indian council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India is highly acknowledged.
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