FOLIC ACID – Reference List

Prog Food Nutr Sci 1991;15(1-2):43-60

Folate status and the immune system.

Dhur A, Galan P, Hercberg S

Centre de Recherche sur les Anemies Nutritionnelles, Institut Scientifique et

Technique de l’Alimentation, CNAM, Paris, France.

Folic acid plays a crucial role in DNA and protein synthesis, suggesting that

every mechanism in which cell proliferation intervenes may be altered.

Cell-mediated immunity is especially affected by folate deficiency: the

blastogenic response of T lymphocytes to certain mitogens is decreased in

folate-deficient humans and animals, and the thymus is preferentially altered.

The effects of folic acid deficiency upon humoral immunity have been more

thoroughly investigated in animals than in humans, and the antibody responses

to several antigens have been shown to decrease. Conversely, the phagocytic and

bactericidal capacities of polymorphonuclear cells (a type of white blood cell) have been studied mainly in folate-deficient humans. However results in this field are controversial. Alterations in immune system functions could lead to decreased resistance to infections, as commonly observed in folate-deficient humans and animals.