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Open AccessArticle

Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Imbalance Modifies NK Cytotoxicity, Lymphocytes B and Lymphoprolipheration in Aged Rats

Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, CEU San Pablo University, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid 28668, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2013, 5(12), 4836-4848;
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 6 November 2013 / Accepted: 14 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin B12 and Human Health)
PDF [244 KB, uploaded 26 November 2013]


Different vitamin B12 and folic acid concentrations could exacerbate the immune response. The aim was to evaluate different dietary folic acid and vitamin B12 levels on the immune response in aged rats. Male Sprague Dawley aged rats were assigned to three folic acid groups (deficient, control, supplemented) each in absence of vitamin B12 for 30 days. Several parameters of innate and acquired immune responses were measured. Serum and hepatic folate levels increased according to folic acid dietary level, while vitamin B12 levels decreased. There was a significant decrease in natural killer cell-mediated cytotoxicity in the spleen for the vitamin B12 deficient diet and folic acid control diet groups. Significant changes in CD45 lymphocyte subsets were also observed according to dietary imbalance. Lymphoproliferative response to concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin did not differ significantly between groups. The spleen response to lipopolysaccharide increased significantly, but was unmodified for the other organs. An imbalance between dietary vitamin B12 and folic acid concentrations alters some immunological parameters in aged rats. Therefore, the ratio between folate and vitamin B12 could be as important as their absolute dietary concentrations. View Full-Text
Keywords: folic acid; vitamin B12; rats; aging; immunology folic acid; vitamin B12; rats; aging; immunology

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Partearroyo, T.; Úbeda, N.; Montero, A.; Achón, M.; Varela-Moreiras, G. Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid Imbalance Modifies NK Cytotoxicity, Lymphocytes B and Lymphoprolipheration in Aged Rats. Nutrients 2013, 5, 4836-4848.

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