OBJECTIVE: The incidence of cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) occurring perinatally is relatively high and aspects of the multifactorial pathophysiology remain unclear. Elevated homocysteine concentrations have been shown to be associated with an increased risk for CVA in children and even in newborns. We studied the possible homocysteine lowering effect of folinic acid in newborns. METHOD: We included 37 newborns in our prospective randomized folinic acid (given as 5-formyltetrahydrofolate) intervention study from patients admitted to our neonatal intensive care unit (18 controls, 19 intervention group). We measured total homocysteine (tHcy) and plasma folate concentrations at three time points (baseline, 1 and 2 weeks after intervention). The intervention group was treated with folinic acid (70 mug/kg/day) for 2 weeks. We calculated median concentrations (25th and 75th percentiles). RESULTS: Median tHcy concentrations at the three time points did not differ from each other in the control group nor in the intervention group. We also could not observe different tHcy concentrations between both groups. Plasma folate concentrations increased in the intervention group (mean increase 167% (95% confidence interval (CI) -291, 625)) compared with control group (mean increase -12% (95% CI -132, 108)), P for treatment effect: 0.03. CONCLUSION: We could not demonstrate a homocysteine lowering effect of folinic acid administration in newborns. This indicates that one carbon metabolism in newborns differs form adults. Cobalamin might be a better strategy to lower tHcy concentrations in newborns.