Vol 84, No 5 (2013)

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The significance of folate metabolism in complications of pregnant women

Agnieszka Seremak-Mrozikiewicz
DOI: 10.17772/gp/1593
Ginekol Pol 2013;84(5).


Proper metabolism of folates has a crucial role for body homeostasis. Folate metabolism regulates changing of amino acids (homocysteine and methionine), purine and pyrimidine synthesis and DNA methylation. These whole biochemical processes have significant influence on hematopoietic, cardiovascular and nervous system functions. The disturbances of folate cycle could result in chronic hypertension, coronary artery disease, higher risk of heart infarction, could promote cancers development, and psychic and neurodegenerative diseases. No less important is the connection with complications appearing in pregnant woman (recurrent miscarriages, preeclampsia, fetus hypotrophy, intrauterine death, preterm placenta ablation, preterm delivery) and fetus defects (Down syndrome, spina bifida, encephalomeningocele, myelomeningocele). The complex process of folate metabolism requires adequate activity of many enzymes and presence of co-enzymes. A key enzyme in folate metabolism is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR –methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), and 677C>T polymorphism of MTHFR gene is connected with lower enzymatic activity. In several researches it was indicated that 677C>T MTHFR polymorphism is an independent factor influencing homocysteine concentration in serum, and also folate concentration in serum and red blood cells. Nevertheless, it was also observed the correlation of 677C>T MTHFR polymorphism with Down syndrome, and neural tube defects appearance in fetus. In European populations frequency of mutated 677TT genotype ranges from a few to several percent. Women carriers of 677TT or 677CT MTHFR genotypes are exposed on folate metabolism disturbances and on the consequences of incorrect folate process during pregnancy. Nowadays in this group of women folic acid supplementation is widely recommended. In the light of modern knowledge the attention was also focused on the importance of metafolin administration that omitted pathways of folic acid transformation after administration, and in pregnant women certainly is valuable complement of supplementation in this respect.

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