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Therapeutic potential of folic acid supplementation for cardiovascular disease prevention through homocysteine lowering and blockade in rheumatoid arthritis patients

By Mickael Essouma and Jean Noubiap


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that preferentially affects joints, and characterized by an approximately two-fold increased risk of cardiovascular diseases compared with the general population. Beyond classical cardiovascular risk factors, systemic inflammatory markers are primarily involved. Hence, anti-inflammatory strategies such as homocysteine-lowering interventions are warranted. Indeed, hyperhomocysteinemia is commonly found in RA patients as a result of both genetic and non-genetic factors including older age, male gender, disease-specific features and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Most importantly in the pathophysiology of hyperhomocysteinemia and its related cardiovascular diseases in RA, there is a bi-directional link between immuno-inflammatory activation and hyperhomocysteinemia. As such, chronic immune activation causes B vitamins (including folic acid) depletion and subsequent hyperhomocysteinemia. In turn, hyperhomocysteinemia may perpetrate immuno-inflammatory stimulation via nuclear factor appa B enhancement. This chronic immune activation is a key determinant of hyperhomocysteinemia-related cardiovascular diseases in RA patients. Folate, a homocysteine-lowering therapy could prove valuable for cardiovascular disease prevention in RA patients in the near future with respect to homocysteine reduction along with blockade of subsequent oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation, and endothelial dysfunction. Thus, large scale and long term homocysteine-lowering clinical trials would be helpful to clarify the association between hyperhomocysteinemia and cardiovascular diseases in RA patients and to definitely state conditions surrounding folic acid supplementation. This article reviews direct and indirect evidence for cardiovascular disease prevention with folic acid supplementation in RA patients

Topics: Rheumatoid arthritis, Cardiovascular diseases, Prevention, Inflammatory biomarkers, Hyperhomocysteinemia, Folic acid supplementation
Publisher: Department of Medicine
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s40364-015-0049-9
OAI identifier:

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