Folic acid supplementation inhibits NADPH oxidase-mediated superoxide anion production in the kidney

Sun Young Hwang, Yaw L. Siow, Kathy K W AU YEUNG, James House, Karmin O*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Hyperhomocysteinemia, a condition of elevated blood homocysteine (Hcy) levels, is a metabolic disease. It is a common clinical finding in patients with chronic kidney diseases and occurs almost uniformly in patients with end-stage renal disease. Hyperhomocysteinemia is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Our recent studies indicate that hyperhomocysteinemia can lead to renal injury by inducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the important mechanisms contributing to Hcy-induced tissue injury. Folic acid supplementation is regarded as a promising approach for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease associated with hyperhomocysteinemia due to its Hcy-lowering effect. However, its effect on the kidney is not clear. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of folic acid supplementation on Hcy-induced superoxide anion production via nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase in the kidney during hyperhomocysteinemia. Hyperhomocysteinemia was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats fed a high-methionine diet for 12 wk with or without folic acid supplementation. A group of rats fed a regular diet was used as control. There was a significant increase in levels of superoxide anions and lipid peroxides in kidneys isolated from hyperhomocysteinemic rats. Activation of NADPH oxidase was responsible for hyperhomocysteinemia-induced oxidative stress in the kidney. Folic acid supplementation effectively antagonized hyperhomocysteinemia-induced oxidative stress via its Hcy-lowering and Hcy-independent effect. In vitro study also showed that 5-methyltet-rahydrofolate, an active form of folate, effectively reduced Hcy-induced superoxide anion production via NADPH oxidase. Xanthine oxidase activity was increased and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was decreased in the kidney of hyperhomocysteinemic rats, which might also contribute to an elevation of superoxide anion level in the kidney. Folic acid supplementation attenuated xanthine oxidase activity and restored SOD activity in the kidney of hyperhomocysteinemic rats. These results suggest that folic acid supplementation may offer renal protective effect against oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F189-F198
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Homocysteine
  • Oxidative stress


Dive into the research topics of 'Folic acid supplementation inhibits NADPH oxidase-mediated superoxide anion production in the kidney'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this