Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Jun;282(6):H2167-72.

Interaction of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and tetrahydrobiopterin on endothelial function.

Author information

Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.


The present study was designed to investigate the interaction between 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and tetrahydrobiopterin in modulating endothelial function. Tetrahydrobiopterin is a critical cofactor for nitric oxide synthase and maintains this enzyme as a nitric oxide- versus superoxide-producing enzyme. The structure of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is similar to tetrahydrobiopterin and both agents have been shown to improve endothelium-dependent vasodilatation. We hypothesized that 5-methyltetrahydrofolate interacts with nitric oxide synthase in a fashion analogous, yet independent, of tetrahydrobiopterin to improve endothelial function. We demonstrate that 5-methyltetrahydrofolate binds the active site of nitric oxide synthase and mimics the orientation of tetrahydrobiopterin. Furthermore, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate attenuates superoxide production (induced by inhibition of tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis) and improves endothelial function in aortae isolated from tetrahydrobiopterin-deficient rats. We suggest that 5-methyltetrahydrofolate directly interacts with nitric oxide synthase to promote nitric oxide (vs. superoxide) production and improve endothelial function. 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate may represent an important strategy for intervention aimed at improving tetrahydrobiopterin bioavailability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center