Osteoporosis International

, Volume 16, Issue 12, pp 1894–1898

Association of red blood cell 5-methyltetrahydrfoate folate with bone mineral density in postmenopausal Iranian women

  • J. Golbahar
  • M.A. Aminzadeh
  • S. A. Hamidi
  • G. R. Omrani
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-005-1961-x

Cite this article as:
Golbahar, J., Aminzadeh, M., Hamidi, S.A. et al. Osteoporos Int (2005) 16: 1894. doi:10.1007/s00198-005-1961-x


Recent studies have suggested that hyperhomocystenemia and low plasma folate are associated with fracture and also bone mineral density (BMD) and that they may contribute to the pathogenicity of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. However, as plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and plasma folate can be regarded as short-term markers when compared to a long-term variable such as BMD, in this study we tested the hypothesis that low red blood cell 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (RBC 5-MTHFR) as a long-term marker of the folate status may be a better predictor of BMD than plasma 5-MTHF, and its deficiency may contribute to the pathogenecity of osteoporosis in postmenopausal Iranian women. The BMD at the femoral neck and lumbar spine (measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, DXA) together with anthropometric and biochemical components of the homocysteine re-methylation pathway including plasma tHcy, 5-MTHF and vitamin B12, RBC 5-MTHF and creatinine were determined in 366 postmenopausal women. RBC 5-MTHF was more highly correlated with BMD at the lumbar spine ( r =0.21, P =0.001) and femoral neck ( r =0.19, P =0.004) than was plasma 5-MTHF (lumbar spine; r =0.14, P =0.03 and femoral neck; r =0.17, P =0.006). Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses revealed that RBC 5-MTHF was one of the predictors of BMD explaining 4.3 and 4.0% variance of BMD at the lumbar spine and femoral neck, respectively, whereas plasma 5-MTHF was excluded in the model and not determined to be a predictor of BMD at both the lumbar spine and femoral neck when adjusted for age, BMI, years since menopause and RBC 5-MTHF. This study suggests that RBC 5-MTHF is a better predictor of BMD than plasma 5-MTHFR when compared to a long-term marker such as BMD, and its deficiency is associated with low BMD that may contribute to the pathogenecity of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.


Bone mineral density Osteoporosis Postmenopausal women Red blood cell 5-methytetrahydrofoalte 



5-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase


bone mineral density


body mass index


parathyroid hormone


red blood cell 5-methyltetrahydrofolate


total homocysteine

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Golbahar
    • 1
  • M.A. Aminzadeh
    • 2
  • S. A. Hamidi
    • 2
  • G. R. Omrani
    • 2
  1. 1.Biochemistry DepartmentShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  2. 2.Endocrine and Metabolic Research CenterNamazi Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran

Personalised recommendations