5-methyltetrahydrofolate (plasma/serum)

HPLC with fluorescence detection
Clinical details: 
Folates function as cofactors in the transfer and utilization of one carbon groups. These reactions are essential for the production of purines and pyrimidines for DNA synthesis. Folates also play a major role in the regeneration of methionine from homocysteine. In pregnancy, poor body stores of folates may lead to neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Chronic folate deficiency is often the cause of a megaloblastic anaemia. Certain types of cancers and Alzheimer’s disease have also been linked to reduced folate status.The predominant form of the vitamin in plasma and red cells is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF). 5MTHF is formed from 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate in a reduction reaction, catalysed by methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). Following synthesis, 5MTHF supplies methyl groups for the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine, hence deficiency of 5MTHF will result in an elevated level of homocysteine, which has been considered to be a cardiovascular risk factor. Different MTHFR polymorphisms have an impact on synthesis of 5MTHF. The base pair substitution of cytosine (C) for thymidine (T) at position 677 reduces the activity of this enzyme. In vitro data indicates that (TT) MTHFR variant is less stable, as indicated by its sensitivity to heat (thermolabile), and that it has 50-60% lower activity than the thermostable (CC) wild-type enzyme. Decreased MTHFR activity will result in a lower rate of reduction of 5,10-methyleneTHF to 5MTHF. Therefore it possible, that subjects homozygous for MTHFR could have a normal total folate but their synthesis of 5MTHF may not be sufficient to meet metabolic demands of homocysteine metabolism. People who are homozygous for the mutant gene (TT) have homocysteine concentrations about 25% higher than people who are homozygous for the normal gene (CC) or heterozygous (CT), however the increase in homocysteine will also depend on environmental factors such as diet.
Reference range: 


Synonyms or keywords: 
5MTHF, Folate, Vitamin B9, folic acid, pteroylglutamic acid
Sample type and Volume required: 
SST/lithium heparin, citrate or EDTA plasma
Minimum 0.5mL
Call in advance: 
Turnaround time: 
10 days
Storage and transport: 
Nutristasis Unit at St Thomas'
020 7188 6815 / 89543
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 4th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH

Laboratory opening times
Monday - Friday 09.00 - 17.00
For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 23/03/2017