Folate Transporters in Placentas from Preterm Newborns and Their Relation to Cord Blood Folate and Vitamin B12 Levels

Abstract

Folate deficiency during pregnancy has been related to low birth weight, preterm (PT) birth and other health risks in the offspring; however, it is unknown whether prematurity is related to low folate transport through the placenta due to altered expression of specific folate transporters. We determined placental expression (mRNA and protein concentrations by RT-qPCR and WB respectively) of specific folate transporters: RFC, PCFT/HCP1 and FOLR1 in chorionic (fetal) and basal (maternal) plates of placentas of PT pregnancies (PT, 32-36 weeks, n = 51). Term placentas were used as controls (T, 37-41 weeks, n = 47). Folates and vitamin B12 levels were measured by electrochemiluminescence in umbilical cord blood of newborns. FOLR1 mRNA expression was lower and protein concentration higher in PT placentas (both plates) relative to the control group (p <0.05). In addition, gestational age was positively correlated with mRNA expression (Rho = 0.7), and negatively with protein concentration (Rho = -0.7 for chorionic and -0.43 for basal plate). PCFT/HCP1 mRNA was lower in PT placentas, without changes in protein levels. RFC did not differ in PT placentas compared to controls. PT newborns presented higher cord blood folate level (p = 0.049) along with lower vitamin B12 concentration compared to controls (p = 0.037).In conclusion, placental FOLR1 mRNA was positively associated with gestational age. Conversely, FOLR1 protein concentrations along with folate/vitamin B12 ratio in cord blood were negatively associated with gestational age. Placental FOLR1 is likely the main placental folate transporter to the fetus in newborns.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170389

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Castao2017FolateTI, title={Folate Transporters in Placentas from Preterm Newborns and Their Relation to Cord Blood Folate and Vitamin B12 Levels}, author={Erika Casta{\~n}o and Lorena Caviedes and Sandra C Hirsch and Miguel Llanos and Germ{\'a}n {\'I}{\~n}iguez and Ana Mar{\'i}a Ronco}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2017} }