Homocysteine (Hcy) is an accepted independent risk factor for several major pathologies including cardiovascular disease, birth defects, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, and renal failure. Interestingly, many of the pathologies associated with homocysteine are also linked to oxidative stress. The enzyme paraoxonase (PON1) – so named because of its ability to hydrolyse the toxic metabolite of parathion, paraoxon – was also shown early after its identification to manifest arylesterase activity. Although the preferred endogenous substrate of PON1 remains unknown, lactones comprise one possible candidate class. Homocysteine-thiolactone can be disposed of by enzymatic hydrolysis by the serum Hcy-thiolactonase/paraoxonase carried on high-density lipoprotein (HDL). In this review, Hcy and the PON1 enzyme family were scrutinized from different points of view in the literature and the recent articles on these subjects were examined to determine whether these two molecular groups are related to each other like a coin with two different sides, so close and yet so different and so opposite.
Keywords: homocysteine, paraoxonase, homocysteine thiolactonase, oxidative stress