Potential role of folate in pre-eclampsia
Dietary deficiencies of folate and other B vitamin cofactors involved in one-carbon metabolism, together with genetic polymorphisms in key folate-methionine metabolic pathway enzymes, are associated with increases in circulating plasma homocysteine, reduction in DNA methylation patterns, and genome instability events. All of these biomarkers have also been associated with pre-eclampsia. The aim of this review is to explore the literature and identify potential knowledge gaps in relation to the role of folate at the genomic level in either the etiology or the prevention of pre-eclampsia. A systematic search strategy was designed to identify citations in electronic databases for the following terms: folic acid supplementation AND pre-eclampsia, folic acid supplementation AND genome stability, folate AND genome stability AND pre-eclampsia, folic acid supplementation AND DNA methylation, and folate AND DNA methylation AND pre-eclampsia. Forty-three articles were selected according to predefined selection criteria. The studies included in the present review were not homogeneous, which made pooled analysis of the data very difficult. The present review highlights associations between folate deficiency and certain biomarkers observed in various tissues of women at risk of pre-eclampsia. Further investigation is required to understand the role of folate in either the etiology or the prevention of pre-eclampsia.