Folic acid supplementation reduces oxidative stress and hepatic toxicity in rats treated chronically with ethanol

  • Lee, Soo-Jung (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Bio-Nano Science, Hannam University) ;
  • Kang, Myung-Hee (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Bio-Nano Science, Hannam University) ;
  • Min, Hye-Sun (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Bio-Nano Science, Hannam University)
  • Received : 2011.10.04
  • Accepted : 2011.12.12
  • Published : 2011.12.31


Folate deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia are found in most patients with alcoholic liver disease. Oxidative stress is one of the most important mechanisms contributing to homocysteine (Hcy)-induced tissue injury. However it has not been examined whether exogenous administration of folic acid attenuates oxidative stress and hepatic toxicity. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo effect of folic acid supplementation on oxidative stress and hepatic toxicity induced by chronic ethanol consumption. Wistar rats (n = 32) were divided into four groups and fed 0%, 12%, 36% ethanol, or 36% ethanol plus folic acid (10 mg folic acid/L) diets. After 5 weeks, chronic consumption of the 36% ethanol diet significantly increased plasma alanine transaminase (ALT) (P < 0.05) and aspartate transaminase (AST) (P < 0.05), triglycerides (TG) (P < 0.05), Hcy (P < 0.001), and low density lipoprotein conjugated dienes (CD) (P < 0.05) but decreased total radical-trapping antioxidant potential (TRAP) (P < 0.001). These changes were prevented partially by folic acid supplementation. The 12% ethanol diet had no apparent effect on most parameters. Plasma Hcy concentration was well correlated with plasma ALT (r = $0.612^{**}$), AST (r = $0.652^*$), CD (r = $0.495^*$), and TRAP (r = $-0.486^*$). The results indicate that moderately elevated Hcy is associated with increased oxidative stress and liver injury in alcohol-fed rats, and suggests that folic acid supplementation appears to attenuate hepatic toxicity induced by chronic ethanol consumption possibly by decreasing oxidative stress.


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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