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Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences

DOI

10.3906/sag-1211-39

Abstract

The term 'one-carbon metabolism' is commonly used to describe 3 separate metabolic processes: folate metabolism, the homocysteine remethylation cycle, and the transsulfuration pathway. Folate metabolism concerns the biochemical reactions in which endogenous and exogenous one-carbon units are transferred to tetrahydrofolates. The remethylation cycle is used for the synthesis of methionine from homocysteine with one-carbon units that come from folate. This methionine is then used for the synthesis of S-adenosyl methionine, which is a general donor of methyl groups for many biochemical reactions in the human body. In the transsulfuration pathway, some amino acids and polypeptides, such as cystathionine, cysteine, and glutathione, are synthesized from homocysteine. The kinetics of the enzymes in this pathway are regulated by the substrates of the remethylation cycle. The methylation process has been thought to have an important role in the biochemical basis of neuropsychiatry. An elevated homocysteine level is the most important marker of folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies, and also the most reliable biochemical sign of functional insufficiency. Some neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, such as psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism, have been found to be related to disorders of one-carbon metabolism. This review aims to summarize both one-carbon metabolism and its relationships with neuropsychiatric disorders.

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