Using highly specific antisera, the neuroanatomical distribution of folic acid (FA) and retinoic acid (RA) has been studied for the first time in the children brainstem. Neither immunoreactive structures containing RA nor immunoreactive fibers containing FA were found. FA-immunoreactive perikarya (fusiform, small/medium in size, one short dendrite) were only found in the pons in three regions: central gray, reticular formation, and locus coeruleus. The number of cell bodies decreased with age. In the first case studied (2 years), a moderate density of cell bodies was observed in the central gray and reticular formation, whereas a low density was found in the locus coeruleus. In the second case (6 years), a low density of these perikarya was observed in the central gray, reticular formation, and locus coeruleus. In the third case (7 years), a low density of FA-immunoreactive cell bodies was found in the central gray and reticular formation, whereas in the locus coeruleus no immunoreactive cell bodies were observed. The distribution of FA in the central nervous system of humans and monkeys is different and, in addition, in these species the vitamin was located in different parts of the nerve cells. The restricted distribution of FA suggests that the vitamin is involved in specific physiological mechanisms.
Materials and Methods
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