Behavioral and neurochemical changes in folate-deficient mice

Sidney M. Gospe, Dorothy W. Gietzen, Philip J. Summers, Jennine M. Lunetta, Joshua W. Miller, Jacob Selhub, William G. Ellis, Andrew J. Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Weanling mice were fed an amino acid-based diet supplemented with 0 or 11.3 μmol folic acid/kg diet for ∼ 38 days to study behavior and neurochemistry in folate deficiency. After ∼ 5 wk, mice fed the unsupplemented diet weighed ∼ 70% as much those fed the supplemented diet. After 2 wk, mice fed the unsupplemented diet consistently discarded (spilled) more food, and after ∼ 5 wk, they had spilled 3 times more than mice fed the supplemented diet. Serum folate, brain folate and brain S-adenosylmethionine of mice fed the unsupplemented diet were 4, 53, and 60% as high, respectively, as those of mice fed the supplemented diet. Pathologic changes were not evident in brain, spinal cord, or skeletal muscle of folate-deficient mice. The hypothalamic 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid/serotonin ratio and caudate dopamine, homovanillic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid concentrations were lower in deficient than control mice. Folate-deficient mice develop a behavioral activity, food spilling, which may have a neurochemical basis in the serotonin and dopamine systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-941
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine
  • Folate deficiency
  • Food spilling behavior
  • Mice
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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