Blood folate status and expression of proteins involved in immune function, inflammation, and coagulation: biochemical and proteomic changes in the plasma of humans in response to long-term synthetic folic acid supplementation

J Proteome Res. 2010 Apr 5;9(4):1941-50. doi: 10.1021/pr901103n.


We used plasma proteomics to identify human proteins responsive to folate status. Plasma was collected from subjects treated with placebo or 1.2 mg of folic acid daily for 12 weeks in a randomized controlled trial. Homocysteine and folate were measured by immunoassay and uracil misincorporation by electrophoresis. The plasma proteome was assessed by 2-D gel electrophoresis, and proteins were identified by LC MS/MS. 5-methylTHF increased 5-fold (P = 0.000003) in response to intervention. Red cell folate doubled (P = 0.013), and lymphocyte folate increased 44% (P = 0.0001). Hcy and uracil dropped 22% (P = 0.0005) and 25% (P = 0.05), respectively. ApoE A-1, alpha-1-antichymotrypsin, antithrombin, and serum amyloid P were downregulated, while albumin, IgM C, and complement C3 were upregulated (P < 0.05). More than 60 proteins were significantly associated with folate pre- and postintervention (P < 0.01). These were categorized into metabolic pathways related to complement fixation (e.g., C1, C3, C4, Factor H, Factor 1, Factor B, clusterin), coagulation (e.g., antithrombin, alpha-1-antitrypsin, kininogen) and mineral transport (e.g., transthyretin, haptoglobin, ceruloplasmin). Low folate status pre- and post-treatment were associated with lower levels of proteins involved in activation and regulation of immune function and coagulation. Supplementation with synthetic folic acid increased expression of these proteins but did not substantially disrupt the balance of these pathways.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Blood Proteins / chemistry
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / blood*
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Homocysteine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity / immunology
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Male
  • Proteome / drug effects
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / blood
  • S-Adenosylmethionine / metabolism
  • Tetrahydrofolates / blood
  • Tetrahydrofolates / metabolism


  • Blood Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Tetrahydrofolates
  • Homocysteine
  • S-Adenosylmethionine
  • Folic Acid
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolate