Introduction: Increased oxidative stress, including elevated homocysteine (Hcy) plasma levels, and lowered levels of antioxidants participate in the pathophysiology and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Paraoxonase (PON)1 activity and folic acid are antioxidants which play a role in Hcy metabolism. However, there are no data whether, in CKD, treatment with folic acid improves glomerular filtration rate (GFR) through effects on PON1 activity and Hcy concentrations. Methods: In the current study, we determined PON1 genotypes and activity, Hcy and estimated GFR (eGFR) both before and after treatment with folic acid (5 mg/d) versus no treatment during three consecutive months in 113 outpatients with CKD classified into stages 4, 3b and 3a. Results: PON1 CMPAase and AREase activities were significantly lower in patients allocated to CKD stage 4 as compared with stages 3b and 3a. Treatment with folic acid significantly improved eGFR and increased levels of CMPAase and AREase in patients allocated to classes 4 and 3b, but not 3a. The improvement of eGFR was associated with increased CMPAase and AREase activities, while the latter were associated with increased levels of folic acid. Treatment with folic acid significantly reduced plasma Hcy levels and the Hcy/PON1 activity ratio. The effects of folic acid increasing PON1 activities were not mediated by changes in Hcy. Discussion: Treatment of CKD patients in early/intermediate stages of CKD patients improves oxidative stress by rebalancing the prooxidant (Hcy) / antioxidant (PON1 activities) ratio. Treatment with folic acid significantly improves eGFR and these effects are mediated via increased PON1 activities. Treatment with folic acid in phase G3b and G4 may reduce renal disease progression by enhancing antioxidant defenses.
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