Effect of folic acid on homocysteine-induced trophoblast apoptosis

Nicoletta Di Simone, Arnaldo Capelli, Patrizia Riccardi, Nicola Giuseppe Maggiano, Marco D'Asta, Alessandro Caruso

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34 Citations (Scopus)


In trophoblast cells exposed to homocysteine (Hcy) we observed cellular apoptosis and the inhibition of trophoblast functions. Because folate and Hcy, linked in the same metabolic pathway, are inversely related, we investigated the role of folic acid in reversing the Hcy effect in human placenta. In primary trophoblast cells we examined the cytosolic release of cytochrome c, both M30 and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUDP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) and DNA laddering. Hcy (20 micromol/l) treatment resulted in cytochrome c release from mitochondria to the cytosol, and an increased number of M30-positive trophoblast cells and TUNEL positive nuclei. Furthermore, DNA cleavage in agarose gel and the determination of histone-associated DNA fragments have been investigated. Homocysteine induced DNA fragmentation and significantly reduced hCG secretion. The addition of folic acid (20 nmol/l) resulted in inhibition of the effects of Hcy on human trophoblast. These results suggest a protective role of folic acid in the prevention of trophoblast apoptosis linked to Hcy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-669
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • effect of folic acid
  • trophoblast apoptosis

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