Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Folate Deficiency Is Associated With Oxidative Stress, Increased Blood Pressure, and Insulin Resistance in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats



The role of folate deficiency and associated hyperhomocysteinemia in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome is not fully established. In the current study, we analyzed the role of folate deficiency in pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR).


Metabolic and hemodynamic traits were assessed in SHR/Ola rats fed either folate-deficient or control diet for 4 weeks starting at the age of 3 months.


Compared to SHRs fed a folate-replete diet, SHRs fed a folate-deficient diet showed significantly reduced serum folate (104 ± 5 vs. 11 ± 1 nmol/L, P < 0.0005) and urinary folate excretion (4.3 ± 0.6 vs. 1.2 ± 0.1 nmol/16 h, P < 0.0005) together with a near 3-fold increase in plasma total homocysteine concentration (4.5 ± 0.1 vs 13.1 ± 0.7 μmol/L, P < 0.0005), ectopic fat accumulation in liver, and impaired glucose tolerance. Folate deficiency also increased systolic blood pressure by approximately 15 mm Hg (P < 0.01). In addition, the low-folate diet was accompanied by significantly reduced activity of antioxidant enzymes and increased concentrations of lipoperoxidation products in liver, renal cortex, and heart.


These findings demonstrate that the SHR model is susceptible to the adverse metabolic and hemodynamic effects of low dietary intake of folate. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that folate deficiency can promote oxidative stress and multiple features of the metabolic syndrome that are associated with increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View