Oxidative catabolism of tetrahydropterins
Mixed labelled folic acid was administerd to rats. Exposure to N2O was used to give an insight into the major route of scission within the monoglutamate pool, results suggest that THF formed during transport from the gut lumen to the plasma is the major route of scission within the gut. Peroxides in corn oil and arising as a result of lipid peroxidation and autoxidation increase catabolism of the monoglutamate pool and decrease incorporation of administered folates into the polyglutamate pool. It is suggested that peroxides may oxidise B12 resulting in inhibition of methionine synthetase, this results in diminished polyglutamation and increased urinary excretion of 5 CH3THF. Fats undergo peroxidation within tissues, the resulting peroxides increase catabolism of the polyglutamate pool. It is suggested that the NBT assay may reflect polyglutamate breakdown. Antioxidants such as vitamin E (and DES) decrease catabolism of the monoglutamate pool. Administration of DES resulted in changes similar to those observed during malignancy, it is suggested that these changes may precede the onset of tumour development. Vitamin E elevates brain DHPR activity. Since lowered DHPR levels and disturbed THB metabolism have been observed in aging and Down's syndrome it is proposed that vitamin E therapy may prove beneficial in situations where oxidative stress is increased. Brain DHPR activity was increased on administration of peroxides suggesting that in situations of oxidative stress (which may result in increased catabolism of THB) the salvage pathway may be stimulated and loss of THB minimised. N2O exposure had no effect on THB metabolism suggesting that the stimulatory role of 5 CH3THF is due to its role as a methyl donor.