Publication date: Nov 20, 2019
Vitamin B5 (d-pantothenic acid; pantothenate) is an essential trace nutrient that functions as the obligate precursor of coenzyme A (CoA), through which it plays key roles in myriad biological processes, including many that regulate carbohydrate, lipid, protein, and nucleic acid metabolism. In the brain, acetyl-CoA is necessary for synthesis of the complex fatty-acyl chains of myelin, and of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. We recently found that cerebral pantothenate is markedly lowered, averaging ∼55% of control values in cases of Huntington’s disease (HD) including those who are pre-symptomatic, and that regions where pantothenate is lowered correspond to those which are more severely damaged. Here we sought to determine the previously unknown distribution of pantothenate in the normal-rat brain, and whether the diabetic rat might be useful as a model for altered cerebral pantothenate metabolism. We employed histological staining (Nissl) to identify brain structures; immunohistochemistry with anti-pantothenate antibodies to determine the distribution of pantothenate in caudate putamen and cerebellum; and gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry to quantitate levels of pantothenate and other metabolites in normal- and diabetic-rat brain. Remarkably, cerebral pantothenate was almost entirely localized to myelin-containing structures in both experimental groups. Diabetes did not modify levels or disposition of cerebral pantothenate. These findings are consistent with physiological localization of pantothenate in myelinated white-matter structures, where it could serve to support myelin synthesis. Further investigation of cerebral pantothenate is warranted in neurodegenerative diseases such as HD and Alzheimer’s disease, where myelin loss is a known characteristic of pathogenesis.
Ismail, N., Kureishy, N., Church, S.J., Scholefield, M., Unwin, R.D., Xu, J., Patassini, S., and Cooper, G.J.S. Vitamin B5 (d-pantothenic acid) localizes in myelinated structures of the rat brain: Potential role for cerebral vitamin B5 stores in local myelin homeostasis. 06792. 2019 Biochem Biophys Res Commun.