Folate-Deficient Diet in Male Mice Associated With Birth Defects in Offspring

news@JAMA

It has long been known that infants born to women who are deficient in folate, one of the B vitamins, are more likely to develop neural tube defects during gestation. Now researchers are investigating whether paternal folate deficiency might have similar harmful effects on offspring and have found that this may be the case, at least in mice.

In a new study published this week in Nature Communications, researchers from McGill University in Montreal studied more than 100 male mice, giving half of them a folate-sufficient diet (2 mg/kg) and half of them a folate-deficient diet (0.3 mg/kg), starting in utero and continuing throughout life. The folate-deficient and folate-sufficient mice showed no differences in physical development and appearance (including testes development). Sperm appearance and sperm counts in the two groups were also the same.

However, when the researchers then mated these male mice with a group of folate-sufficient femaleā€¦

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