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The Effect of High Dose Folic Acid throughout Pregnancy on Homocysteine (Hcy) Concentration and Pre-Eclampsia: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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      Abstract

      Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy-related multi-systemic hypertensive disorder and affects at least 5% of pregnancies. This randomized clinical trial aimed at assessing the effect of low doses and high doses of folic acid on homocysteine (Hcy) levels, blood pressure, urea, creatinine and neonatal outcome. A randomized clinical trial was done at Alzahra Teaching Hospital, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences from April 2008 to March 2013. Four-hundred and sixty nulliparous pregnant women were randomly assigned into two groups. Group 1 (n = 230) received 0.5 mg of folic acid and group 2 (n = 230) received 5 mg of folic acid per daily. They were followed until delivery. Blood pressure and laboratory changes, including plasma Hcy levels, were measured and compared between the groups. Homocysteine concentrations were significantly higher at the time of delivery in group 1 (13.17±3.89 μmol/l) than in group 2 (10.31±3.54, μmol/l) (p<0.001). No statistically significant differences were observed in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.84 and 0.15, respectively). Birth weight was significantly higher in group 2 (p = 0.031) and early abortion was significantly higher in group 1 than group 2 (p = 0.001). This study has provided evidence that a high dosage of folic acid supplements throughout pregnancy reduces Hcy concentrations at the time of delivery.

      Trial Registration: Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials IRCT201402175283N9

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      Most cited references 38

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      Effects of folic acid supplementation on overall and site-specific cancer incidence during the randomised trials: meta-analyses of data on 50,000 individuals.

      Some countries fortify flour with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects but others do not, partly because of concerns about possible cancer risks. We aimed to assess any effects on site-specific cancer rates in the randomised trials of folic acid supplementation, at doses higher than those from fortification. In these meta-analyses, we sought all trials completed before 2011 that compared folic acid versus placebo, had scheduled treatment duration at least 1 year, included at least 500 participants, and recorded data on cancer incidence. We obtained individual participant datasets that included 49,621 participants in all 13 such trials (ten trials of folic acid for prevention of cardiovascular disease [n=46,969] and three trials in patients with colorectal adenoma [n=2652]). All these trials were evenly randomised. The main outcome was incident cancer (ignoring non-melanoma skin cancer) during the scheduled treatment period (among participants who were still free of cancer). We compared those allocated folic acid with those allocated placebo, and used log-rank analyses to calculate the cancer incidence rate ratio (RR). During a weighted average scheduled treatment duration of 5·2 years, allocation to folic acid quadrupled plasma concentrations of folic acid (57·3 nmol/L for the folic acid groups vs 13·5 nmol/L for the placebo groups), but had no significant effect on overall cancer incidence (1904 cancers in the folic acid groups vs 1809 cancers in the placebo groups, RR 1·06, 95% CI 0·99–1·13, p=0·10). There was no trend towards greater effect with longer treatment. There was no significant heterogeneity between the results of the 13 individual trials (p=0·23), or between the two overall results in the cadiovascular prevention trials and the adenoma trials (p=0·13). Moreover, there was no significant effect of folic acid supplementation on the incidence of cancer of the large intestine, prostate, lung, breast, or any other specific site. Folic acid supplementation does not substantially increase or decrease incidence of site-specific cancer during the first 5 years of treatment. Fortification of flour and other cereal products involves doses of folic acid that are, on average, an order of magnitude smaller than the doses used in these trials. British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Food Standards Agency.
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        Plasma total homocysteine, pregnancy complications, and adverse pregnancy outcomes: the Hordaland Homocysteine study.

        Total homocysteine (tHcy) measured in serum or plasma is a marker of folate status and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Our objective was to investigate associations between tHcy and complications and adverse outcomes of pregnancy. Plasma tHcy values measured in 1992-1993 in 5883 women aged 40-42 y were compared with outcomes and complications of 14492 pregnancies in the same women that were reported to the Medical Birth Registry of Norway from 1967 to 1996. When we compared the upper with the lower quartile of plasma tHcy, the adjusted risk for preeclampsia was 32% higher [odds ratio (OR): 1. 32; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.77; P for trend = 0.02], that for prematurity was 38% higher (OR: 1.38; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.75; P for trend = 0.005), and that for very low birth weight was 101% higher (OR: 2.01; 95% CI: 1.23, 3.27; P for trend = 0.003). These associations were stronger during the years closest to the tHcy determination (1980-1996), when there was also a significant relation between tHcy concentration and stillbirth (OR: 2.03; 95% CI: 0.98, 4.21; P for trend = 0.02). Neural tube defects and clubfoot had significant associations with plasma tHcy. Placental abruption had no relation with tHcy quartile, but the adjusted OR when tHcy concentrations >15 micromol/L were compared with lower values was 3.13 (95% CI: 1.63, 6. 03; P = 0.001). Elevated tHcy concentration is associated with common pregnancy complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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          Folic acid and homocyst(e)ine metabolic defects and the risk of placental abruption, pre-eclampsia and spontaneous pregnancy loss: A systematic review.

           C Laskin,  William Ray (1999)
          Placental infarction or abruption, recurrent pregnancy loss and pre-eclampsia are thought to arise due to defects within the placental vascular bed. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folate, or other abnormalities within the methionine-homocyst(e)ine pathway have been implicated in the development of such placental diseases. We conducted a systematic literature review to quantify the risk of placental disease in the presence of these metabolic defects. Studies were identified through OVID Medline between 1966 and February 1999. Terms relating to the measurement of vitamin B12, folic acid, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or homocyst(e)ine were combined with those of pre-eclampsia, placental abruption/infarction or spontaneous and habitual abortion. Human studies comprising both cases and controls and published in the English language were accepted. Their references were explored for other publications. Data were abstracted on the matching of cases with controls, the mean levels of folate, B12 or homocyst(e)ine in each group or the frequency of the homozygous state for the thermolabile variant of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The definition of 'abnormal' for each exposure was noted and the presence or absence of the exposure of interest for each outcome was calculated as an absolute rate with a 95 per cent confidence interval. The crude odds ratios were calculated for each study and then pooled using a random effects model. Eighteen studies were finally included. Eight studies examined the risk of placental abruption/infarction in the presence of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, or hyperhomocyst(e)inaemia. Folate deficiency was a prominent risk factor for placental abruption/infarction among four studies, though not statistically significant (pooled odds ratio 25.9, 95 per cent CI 0.9-736.3). Hyperhomocyst(e)inaemia was also associated with placental abruption/infarction both without (pooled odds ratio 5.3, 95 per cent CI 1.8-15.9) and with methionine loading (pooled odds ratio 4.2, 95 per cent CI 1.2-15.0), as was the homozygous state for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (pooled odds ratio 2.3, 95 per cent CI 1.1-4.9). Vitamin B12 deficiency was not a demonstrable risk factor. Eight studies examined blood levels among women with spontaneous abortion or recurrent pregnancy loss. The pooled odds ratios were 3.4 (95 per cent CI 1.2-9.9) for folate deficiency, 3.7 (95 per cent CI 0.96-16.5) for hyperhomocyst(e)inaemia following methionine challenge, and 3.3 (95 per cent CI 1.2-9.2) for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase mutation. Five case-control studies examined the relationship between pre-eclampsia and abnormal levels of vitamin B12, folate, homocyst(e)ine or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Folate deficiency was not an associated risk factor (odds ratio 1.2, 95 per cent CI 0.5-2.7), but hyper-homocyst(e)inaemia was (pooled odds ratio 20.9, 95 per cent CI 3.6-121.6). Similarly, homozygosity for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase thermolabile variant was associated with a moderate risk of preeclampsia (odds ratio 2.6, 95 per cent CI 1.4-5.1). Some pooled data were associated with significant statistical heterogeneity, however. There is a general agreement among several observational studies that folate deficiency, hyperhomocyst(e)inaemia and homozygosity for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase thermolabile variant are probable risk factors for placenta-mediated diseases, such as pre-eclampsia, spontaneous abortion and placental abruption. Vitamin B12 deficiency is less well defined as an important risk factor. Due to the limited quality of these data, including insufficient matching of cases with controls, and possible laboratory measurement bias relating to pregnancy, prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings and guide future preventative and therapeutic research. Copyright 1999 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Drug Applied Research Center (DARC), Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Postal address, 5138665793, Tabriz, Iran
            [2 ]Biotechnology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            [3 ]Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            [4 ]Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            [5 ]Women's Reproductive Health Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            University of Ottawa, CANADA
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors declare that they have no financial or non-financial competing interests and did not receive funding from any pharmaceutical companies.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: MS-M AG. Performed the experiments: MA MK-S SB. Analyzed the data: MG. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: MG. Wrote the paper: MS-M MA.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            1932-6203
            11 May 2016
            2016
            : 11
            : 5
            27166794 4868051 10.1371/journal.pone.0154400 PONE-D-15-14652
            © 2016 Sayyah-Melli et al

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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            Figures: 1, Tables: 6, Pages: 11
            Product
            Funding
            Funded by: Drug Applied Research Center of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences
            Award Recipient :
            Funder for the study was the Drug Applied Research Center (DARC) from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran. The sponsor of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis or interpretation. They reviewed this report prior to submission for publication. The corresponding author had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.
            Categories
            Research Article
            Physical Sciences
            Chemistry
            Chemical Compounds
            Organic Compounds
            Vitamins
            B Vitamins
            Folic Acid
            Physical Sciences
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            Organic Compounds
            Vitamins
            B Vitamins
            Folic Acid
            Medicine and Health Sciences
            Women's Health
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            Preeclampsia
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