Association of maternal folate nutrition and serum C-reactive protein concentrations with gestational age at delivery

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;65(3):350-6. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.267. Epub 2010 Dec 22.


Background/objectives: C-reactive protein (CRP) is the most extensively studied inflammatory risk marker, and elevated serum CRP concentrations in pregnant women are known to be associated with subsequent development of preeclampsia and preterm delivery. Researchers have suggested that folate intake may help to control the inflammation process. We examined whether folate nutrition modifies the relationship between serum CRP concentration and gestational age at delivery.

Subjects/methods: Serum CRP concentrations were analyzed in 815 pregnant women between 12 and 28 weeks of gestation. Dietary intakes were assessed using a 24-h dietary recall. The serum folate and high-sensitivity CRP concentrations were analyzed by radioassay and latex agglutination tests, respectively.

Results: Serum CRP concentration was negatively correlated (P < 0.001) with gestational age at delivery. Serum folate concentration was negatively correlated (P < 0.01) with serum CRP concentration, and total dietary folate intake was positively correlated (P < 0.001) with serum folate concentration. Multiple regression analysis after adjustment for covariates revealed that maternal CRP concentrations were negatively associated with gestational age at delivery; these negative associations existed only when folate intake during pregnancy was below the Korean estimated average requirements (520 μg dietary folate equivalent per day), and serum folate concentrations were above the normal (6 ng/ml).

Conclusions: We found that adequate maternal folate intake during pregnancy may have a beneficial role against shorter gestational age at delivery, which is associated with higher serum CRP concentrations in pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / blood*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second / blood
  • Premature Birth / blood
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Folic Acid