Type of Article:  Original Research

Volume 11; Issue 3 (September 2023)

Page No.: 8685-8691

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.16965/ijar.2023.161

Effect of Maternal Folate Use on Offsprings’ Cerebellar Morphometric Parameters: An Experimental Study in A Rat Model

Philip Maseghe Mwachaka *, Peter Gichangi, Adel Abdelmalek, Paul Odula, Julius Ogeng’o.

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 30197-00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

Corresponding Author: Philip Maseghe Mwachaka, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 30197-00100 Nairobi, Kenya. E-Mail: pmaseghe@gmail.com


Philip Maseghe Mwachaka: 0000-0002-5639-2993
Peter Gichangi: 0000-0001-9636-165X
Paul Odula: 0000-0001-9863-8931
Adel Abdelmalek: NA
Julius Ogeng’o: 0000-0001-5918-9184


Background: Folate is an important nutrient in fetal and early postnatal brain development, and its supplementation during pregnancy has been widely recommended. Folate supplementation has been linked to improved cerebellar function, specifically motor and neuropsychological abilities. It is still unclear exactly how folate affects the cerebellum’s structural growth. This study aimed to describe the effects of maternal folate use on cerebellum postnatal development.

Methods: Twelve adults (6–8 week old) female rats (Rattus norwegicus) were randomly divided into four groups and fed one of four premixed diets: a standard diet (folate 2 mg/kg), a folate-supplemented diet (folate 8 mg/kg), or a folate supra-supplemented diet (folate 40 mg/kg). The rats were introduced to their respective diets 14 days before mating, and remained on the same diet throughout gestation and lactation. On postnatal days 1, 7, 21, and 35, five pups from each group were sacrificed and their brains harvested for analysis. The data gathered included the brain’s weight, brain length and width, cerebellar length and width, and vermis length and width.

Results:  The folate-deficient offspring’s brains weighed significantly less at birth than the other groups’ brains (p<0.05). As they aged, the folate-deficient group gained weight more slowly than the others. The folate-deficient group had significantly smaller cerebellar length, cerebellar width, vermis length, and vermis width than the other study groups. The folate-supplemented group had larger cerebellar dimensions than the folate supra-supplemented group, but these differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: Folate deficiency during pregnancy and breastfeeding is linked to a smaller cerebellum in the offspring. These results could affect the health of the children. Furthermore, there is no additional benefit to folate supra-supplementation over recommended folate supplementation in cerebellum development.

Keywords: Folate deficiency, folate supplementation, cerebellum.


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Cite this article: Philip Maseghe Mwachaka, Peter Gichangi, Adel Abdelmalek, Paul Odula, Julius Ogeng’o. Effect of Maternal Folate Use on Offsprings’ Cerebellar Morphometric Parameters: An Experimental Study in A Rat Model. Int J Anat Res 2023;11(3):8685-8691. DOI: 10.16965/ijar.2023.161