Although methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, a folate enzyme gene, has been associated with idiopathic male infertility, few studies have examined other folate-related metabolites and genes. We investigated whether idiopathic male infertility is associated with variants in folate, vitamin B12 (B12) and total homocysteine (tHcy)-related genes and measured these metabolites in blood. We conducted a case–control study that included 153 men with idiopathic infertility and 184 fertile male controls recruited at the Fertility Center and Antenatal Care Center, University Hospital, Malmö and Lund, Sweden. Serum folate, red cell folate (RCF), serum B12, plasma tHcy and semen quality were measured. Subjects were genotyped for 20 common variants in 12 genes related to folate/B12/homocysteine metabolism. Metabolite concentrations and genotype distributions were compared between cases and controls using linear and logistic regression with adjustment for covariates. The phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT) M175V and TCblR rs173665 polymorphisms were significantly associated with infertility (P=0.01 and P=0.009, respectively), but not with semen quality. Among non-users of supplements, infertile men had lower serum folate concentrations than fertile men (12.89 vs. 14.73 nmol l−1; P=0.02), but there were no significant differences in RCF, B12 or tHcy. Folate, B12 and tHcy concentrations were not correlated with any semen parameters. This study provides little support for low folate or B12 status in the pathogenesis of idiopathic male infertility. Although additional data are needed to confirm these initial findings, our results suggest that PEMT and TCblR, genes involved in choline and B12 metabolism, merit further investigation in idiopathic male infertility.
folate; idiopathic male infertility; semen quality; vitamin B12
Background: Few studies have examined the effect of alcohol consumption on total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations.
Aim: To assess the effect of an 8-week intervention with vodka or red wine on plasma tHcy and B vitamin concentrations in healthy male volunteers. To assess the effect on tHcy according to methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C>T genotype.
Design and methods: A randomized controlled crossover intervention study measuring tHcy and serum folate and vitamin B12 concentrations was conducted in 78 male subjects (21–70 years). Following a 2-week washout period during which no alcohol was consumed, all subjects consumed 24 g alcohol (either 240 ml red wine or 80 ml vodka)/day for a 2-week period. Following a further 2-week washout, participants consumed the alternate intervention for 2 weeks.
Results: A significant increase in plasma tHcy was observed after the 2-week red wine intervention (5%, P = 0.03), and a non-significant increase in tHcy with vodka intervention (3%, P = 0.09). When the two interventions were compared, the change in tHcy did not differ between the vodka and red wine interventions (P = 0.57). There were significant decreases in serum vitamin B12 and folate concentrations, and this decrease did not differ between interventions. The increase in tHcy observed in both interventions did not vary by MTHFR 677C>T genotype.
Conclusions: A 2-week alcohol intervention resulted in a decrease in folate and vitamin B12 status and an increase in plasma tHcy. The effect of alcohol intervention on tHcy, folate and vitamin B12 concentrations did not differ between the red wine and vodka intervention groups.
Remethylation of homocysteine to methionine is dependent on an adequate supply of one or more of the B vitamins like folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is also influenced by genetic factors such as polymorphisms in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene. MTHFR is a flavo enzyme and a key player in folate metabolism and changes in its activity could modify the susceptibility to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In this case — control study we have examined the effect of riboflavin status as measured by erythrocyte glutathione reductase activation coefficient (EGRAC) on homocysteine levels along with vitamin B12 and folate in pediatric ALL. Folate and B12 levels were significantly lower among cases as compared to controls while EGRAC and tHcy did not differ significantly among the groups. The multivariate regression analysis revealed that in the ALL group EGRAC significantly influences tHcy levels suggesting that riboflavin availability may be a predictor of tHcy levels in patients with ALL. This finding may have implications for tHcy lowering therapy.
Homocysteine; Riboflavin; MTHFR; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Aims: To investigate the relation between total red cell folate, red cell N5-methyltetrahydrofolate (N5MTHF) concentrations, and N5N10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genotypes in stroke.
Methods: The study comprised 120 consecutive patients presenting to hospital with acute stroke. Multivitamin supplement use was recorded. Serum and red cell folate were measured by microbiological assays using Lactobacillus casei and Enterococcus faecalis, and by the DPC-BioMediq Immulite™ 2000 analyser. Total plasma homocysteine (tHcy), serum cobalamin, and serum vitamin B6 were measured and the C677T MTHFR genotype determined.
Results: There were no significant differences in blood tHcy or vitamin concentrations according to MTHFR genotype in the overall patient cohort. However, when patients taking vitamins were excluded, total red cell folate and red cell N5MTHF were significantly lower in patients with the TT genotype compared with CT or CC genotypes. In the overall cohort, irrespective of genotype, red cell folate was significantly lower when assayed microbiologically than with the Immulite assay. This discrepancy remained after exclusion of patients taking vitamins.
Conclusion: Total red cell folate and red cell N5MTHF are significantly lower in stroke patients with the TT compared with the CT and TT MTHFR genotypes, particularly those not taking vitamin supplements. Microbiological assays that measure biologically active folates provide substantially lower estimates of folate than the Immulite™ assay. Because folate is a key determinant of blood homocysteine values, these findings may impact on the interpretation of the strength and independence of the association between raised blood concentrations of homocysteine and atherothrombosis risk reported in most epidemiological studies.
stroke; folate; methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase; homocysteine
NHANES measured folate and vitamin B-12 status biomarkers, starting with serum folate from NHANES I (1974–1975) through 2010. Subsequent NHANES measured additional biomarkers [eg, red blood cell folate, serum vitamin B-12, total homocysteine (tHcy), methylmalonic acid, serum folic acid, and 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid]. Examples of the uses of these data are wide ranging and include public policy applications, the derivation of reference intervals, and research. Periodically, the National Center for Health Statistics and its federal partners convene expert panels to review the use of the folate- and vitamin B-12–related biomarkers in NHANES. These panels have evaluated the need for results to be comparable across time and with published data and the use of crossover studies and adjustment equations to ensure comparability. With the recent availability of reference methods and materials for serum folate and tHcy, NHANES has started to use traceability approaches to enhance the accuracy and comparability of its results. A major user concern over the years has been the use of cutoffs to estimate the prevalence of inadequate folate and vitamin B-12 status. Because these cutoffs depend on the measurement procedure, several expert panels suggested approaches for dealing with cutoff challenges. This review summarizes the history and use of folate- and vitamin B-12–related biomarkers beginning with NHANES I (1974–1975) through 2010.
Our aim was to monitor folate status in five creatine transporter deficient (CRTR) patients undergoing glycine/l-arginine (Gly/Arg) therapy after the finding of severe hyperhomocysteinemia in one of these cases.
Five male patients (age range: 12–20; median = 13 years) genetically confirmed of CRTR deficiency, who were treated with oral glycine (200 mg/kg/day) and l-arginine (400 mg/kg/day) twice a day for 9 months. Clinical follow-up was done at baseline and every 3 months after the start of the therapy. Serum folate was assayed by automated procedures, and plasma total homocysteine (tHcys) by HPLC with fluorescence detection. The 677C→T polymorphism of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene was analyzed by PCR.
Case 1 presented severe hyperhomocysteinemia (81 μmol/L; control values <10.8) 3 months after Gly/Arg therapy. Three out of the other four cases disclosed mildly increased plasma tHcys values. Serum folate was normal in all cases before therapy, but 3 months after, a deficient status was detected in two cases and a clear decrement in the others when compared with baseline conditions. Two cases were homozygous for the 677C→T polymorphism of the MTHFR, presenting the highest plasma tHcys values. In all cases, after 3 months of folate supplementation (5 mg/day), both serum folate and tHcys concentrations returned to normal values.
In conclusion, prior to the start of long-term Gly/Arg therapy, the monitoring of folate and plasma tHcys values, together with study of the 677C→T polymorphism of the MTHFR gene, seems necessary in order to correct hyperhomocysteinemia by means of folate supplementation.
This study aimed to evaluate the plasma homocysteine (tHcy) and folate levels as well as the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T mutation in Egyptian subjects. Fasting total homocysteine (tHcy) and the (MTHFR) C677T mutation were evaluated in 50 healthy young control males (age 35-50 years, Gp1), 50 elderly males age ranged between 50-75 years without any cardiovascular diseases (Gp2) and 50 age matched elderly male patients (Gp3) with myocardial infarction. There was a significant elevation of plasma tHcy in the patients group and Gp2 compared to the young control group (Gp1). The total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) in the control group, Gp2 and the patients group were 17.99 ± 9.76, 39.9 ± 20.06 and 43.8 ± 13.13 μmol/L respectively. The frequency of the TT genotype was 12% in the patient group compared with 8 % in the young healthy controls and elderly subjects (Gp2). The CT genotype constituted 36%, 48% and 44% in the control group, Gp2 and the patients group respectively. There was no significant difference in the occurrence of the TT genotype between the studied groups. Plasma tHcy correlated positively with age, total cholesterol, urea, creatinine, glucose levels and carotid intimal thickness (CIT). Conclusion: The MTHFR mutation does not seem to be associated with either high tHcy or the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases in the studied patients. However, elevated plasma tHcy level positively correlates with age in the studied subjects.
Homocysteine; MTHFR; coronary heart disease
Disturbed folate metabolism is associated with an increased risk of some cancers. Our objective was to determine whether blood levels of folate, vitamin B12 and related metabolites were associated with prostate cancer risk.
Matched case-control study nested within the UK population-based ProtecT study of PSA-detected prostate cancer in men aged 50–69 years. Plasma concentrations of folate, B12 (cobalamin), holo-haptocorrin, holo- and total-transcobalamin, and total homocysteine (tHcy) were measured in 1,461 cases and 1,507 controls. ProtecT study estimates for associations of folate, B12, and tHcy with prostate cancer risk were included in a meta-analysis, based on a systematic review.
In the ProtecT study, increased B12 and holo-haptocorrin concentrations showed positive associations with prostate cancer risk (highest vs lowest quartile of B12 odds ratio (OR)=1.17 (95% CI 0.95–1.43), P-for-trend=0.06; highest vs lowest quartile of holo-haptocorrin OR=1.27 (1.04–1.56), P-for-trend=0.01); folate, holo-transcobalamin and tHcy were not associated with prostate cancer risk. In the meta-analysis, circulating B12 levels were associated with an increased prostate cancer risk (pooled OR=1.10 (1.01–1.19) per 100 pmol/L increase in B12, P=0.002); the pooled OR for the association of folate with prostate cancer was positive (OR=1.11 (0.96–1.28) per 10 nmol/L, P=0.2) and conventionally statistically significant if ProtecT (the only case-control study) was excluded (OR=1.18 (1.00–1.40) per 10 nmol/L, P=0.02).
Vitamin B12 and (in cohort studies) folate were associated with increased prostate cancer risk.
Given current controversies over mandatory fortification, further research is needed to determine whether these are causal associations.
folate; vitamin B12; cobalamin; transcobalamin; haptocorrin; homocysteine; folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism; prostate cancer
The amino acid intermediate homocysteine (Hcy) is formed during the metabolism of methionine to cysteine. Hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) is recognized as an independent risk factor for coronary atherosclerosis. The circulating levels of total Hcy (tHcy) can increase due to intake of foods rich in methionine or deficiencies of vitamins such as folate, pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin, which are required for the metabolism of Hcy. In addition, mutations in the genes coding for Hcy metabolizing enzymes can contribute to an increase in tHcy levels. Clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that an elevated level of tHcy measured in serum or plasma is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease risk, which appears to be greatest in patients who have HHcy following a methionine load. Intimal hyperplasia (IH) (intima/media [I/M] ratio) is the universal response of a vessel to injury and may result in vasoconstriction when left unattended. The effect of dietary HHcy on balloon catheter-injured carotid artery and its modulation (if any) by the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonist gamma rosiglitazone was evaluated in 12-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats fed either a control diet or a diet containing 1% L-methionine. Once the rats were established on the diet, the group that was fed 1% L-methionine was further subdivided and either given an aqueous preparation of 3 mg/kg/day rosiglitazone or the vehicle via oral gavage for one week. This was followed by surgically injuring the left carotid artery using a Maverick Over-The-Wire catheter (2.0 mm × 20 mm, 3.2F; Boston Scientific, USA). The rats were continued on their respective diets and drug regimen for 21 days postsurgery. On day 22 of the procedure, the rats were sacrificed for collection of blood, the carotid arteries and liver for biochemical and histological evaluation. Compared with controls there was a significant increase in both tHcy levels and I/M ratio in the rats fed 1% L-methionine (5.4±0.28 μM versus 32.8±3.01 μM, P<0.002; and 0.175±0.05 versus 1.05±0.23, P<0.005, respectively). The effect of rosiglitazone in rats fed the control diet was not prominent. On the other hand, administration of rosiglitazone to the rats on the 1% L-methionine diet significantly reduced the levels of serum tHcy (16.6±2.1 μM versus 32.8±3.01 μM, P<0.001); however, the tHcy levels remained significantly elevated compared with animals on the control diet (P<0.002). The group receiving the L-methionine diet plus rosiglitazone had an inhibition in the development of IH compared with those receiving the L-methionine diet alone (I/M of 0.278±0.041 versus 1.05±0.23, P<0.01). Moreover, the development of IH in the group receiving the L-methionine diet plus rosiglitazone treatment was not significantly different from that observed in the group on the control diet without rosiglitazone (0.278±0.041 versus 0.175±0.05, respectively). These findings may have important implications in deciphering the molecular mechanisms involved in the augmentation of IH in HHcy and modulation of this process by rosiglitazone.
Carotid; Hyperhomocysteinemia; Metabolism; Methionine; Vasoconstriction
From 1992-93, we screened 18,043 subjects, aged 40-67 yr, and found 67 cases (0.4%) with total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) > or = 40 micromol/liter. Compared to 329 controls, the cases had lower plasma folate and cobalamin levels, lower intake of vitamin supplements, consumed more coffee, and were more frequently smokers. Homozygosity for the C677T mutation in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene was observed in 73.1% of the cases and 10.2% of the controls. Only seven cases with cobalamin deficiency and one with homocystinuria received specific therapeutic instructions. 2 yr after the screening, 58 subjects were reinvestigated. 41 still had tHcy > 20 micromol/liter, and in 37 of these, intervention with low dose folic acid (0.2 mg/d) was started. Notably, 34 of 37 (92%) had homozygosity for the C677T mutation. Plasma tHcy was reduced in all but two after 7 wk, and became normal within 7 mo in 21 of 37 subjects. Most of the remaining subjects obtained a normal tHcy level with 5 mg/d of folic acid. We conclude that most subjects with hyperhomocysteinemia > or = 40 micromol/liter in the general population have the C677T mutation combined with low folate status. Daily supplement of low dose folic acid will reduce and often normalize their tHcy level.
Periconceptional use of folic acid prevents most neural tube defects (NTDs). Whether folic acid and/or multivitamins can prevent other congenital anomalies is not clear. This study tested whether maternal blood levels of folate and vitamin B12 in pregnancies affected by congenital malformations excluding NTDs are lower when compared to non-affected pregnancies.
We measured pregnancy red cell folate (RCF), vitamin B12, and homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations in blood samples taken at the first antenatal clinic in Dublin maternity hospitals in 1986–1990 when vitamin supplementation was rare. The cases were mothers who delivered a baby with a congenital malformation other than NTD identified by the Dublin EUROCAT Registry; controls were a systematic sample of mothers of offspring without congenital malformations from the same hospitals in the same time period.
The median maternal levels of RCF and tHcy did not differ significantly between cases and controls for any of the congenital malformation groups examined (RCF: all malformations 275.9 ug/L v controls 271.2; p=0.77; tHcy: all malformations 7.5 umol/L v controls 7.6; p=0.57). In an unadjusted analysis vitamin B12 was significantly higher in case-mothers whose babies had cleft palate only (p=0.006), musculoskeletal malformations (p=0.034) and midline defects (p=0.039) but not after adjustment for multiple testing.
Our data suggest that low maternal folate and B12 levels or high tHcy levels in early pregnancy are not associated with all congenital malformations excluding NTDs. Fortification with folic acid or B12 may not have a beneficial effect in the prevention of these anomalies.
Elevated total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) in humans is associated with cardiovascular disease but prevention trials have failed to confirm causality. Reported reasons for this association have been that homocysteine and its major genetic determinant methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) may have an effect on HDL and Apolipoprotein (Apo) A1 levels. We wanted to study if tHcy and its major determinants were correlated with Apo A1 levels in a large population without folate fortification.
This study was a prospective incident nested case-referent study within the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study Cohort (NSHDSC), including 545 cases with first myocardial infarction and 1054 matched referents, median age at inclusion was 59 years. Univariate and multiple regression analyzes was used to study the associations between apolipoproteins Apo A1 and B, tHcy, folate and vitamin B12 in plasma as well as MTHFR polymorphisms 677C>T and 1298A>C.
Apo A1 and Apo B were strongly associated with the risk of a first myocardial infarction. tHcy was not associated with Apo A1 levels. Instead, folate had an independent positive association with Apo A1 levels in univariate and multiple regression models. The associations were seen in all men and women, among referents but not among cases. MTHFR polymorphisms had no clear effect on Apo A1 levels.
Analyzing over 1500 subjects we found an independent positive association between plasma folate (major dietary determinant of tHcy) and Apo A1 levels among those who later did not develop a first myocardial infarction. No association was seen between tHcy and Apo A1.
Apolipoprotein; Homocysteine; Myocardial infarction; Folate; Epidemiology
Recent studies have suggested that Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection might be a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Since the bacterium has not been isolated from atherosclerotic lesions, a direct role in atherogenesis is not plausible. We examined associations of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and serum folate, independent risk factors for atherosclerosis, with H. pylori infection and subsequent gastric atrophy among 174 patients (78 males and 96 females) aged 20 to 73 years, who visited an H. pylori eradication clinic of Nagoya University from July 2004 to October 2005. Polymorphism genotyping was conducted for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T and thymidylate synthase (TS) 28-bp tandem repeats by PCR with confronting two-pair primers and PCR, respectively. H. pylori infection and gastric atrophy were not significantly associated with hyperhomocysteinemia (tHcy ≥ 12 nmol/ml), when adjusted by sex, age, smoking, alcohol, and genotypes of MTHFR and TS. The adjusted odds ratio of gastric atrophy for low folate level (≤ 4mg/ml) was 0.21 (95% confidence interval = 0.05-0.78). The associations of tHcy with serum folate and MTHFR genotype were clearly observed in this dataset. The present study demonstrated that folate and MTHFR genotype were the deterministic factors of plasma tHcy, but not H. pylori infection and subsequent gastric atrophy, indicating that even if H. pylori infection influences the risk of atherosclerosis, the influence may not be through the elevation of homocysteine.
Helicobacter pylori; homocysteine; methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR); thymidylate synthase (TS); gastric atrophy
Elevated plasma concentration of total homocysteine (tHcy) has been linked with many diseases. tHcy is associated with a variety of factors, including polymorphisms in genes involved in homocysteine metabolism. It is not clear whether US-mandated fortification of grain products with folic acid has affected the association of genetic variants with tHcy levels. We determined tHcy concentrations in sera from 997 Caucasians and 692 African Americans participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study before and after folic acid fortification. DNA was genotyped for variants present in four genes involved in homocysteine metabolism: cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) 844ins68, methionine synthase (MS) 2756A>G; methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) 66A>G, and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C>T and 1298A>C. A greater number of African Americans were homozygous for the MS 2756GG, MTRR 66GG and CBS 844ins68 genotypes compared to Caucasians, while prevalence of MTHFR 677TT and 1298CC genotypes was substantially lower in African Americans compared to Caucasians. The overall variance in tHcy levels at y 0, 7, and 15 that can be explained by the combined presence of all five variants increased slightly over time in Caucasians (17%, y 0; 21%, y 7 and 26%, y 15) and in African Americans (13%, y 0; 17% y 7; 18% y 15) largely due to decrease in tHcy variance.
Cystathionine B-synthase; folic acid; homocysteine; methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase; methionine synthase; methionine synthase reductase
High total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) has been associated with cognitive impairment in later life, but it is unclear if this association is causal or is due to confounding. The C677T polymorphism of the 5,10 methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) increases basal tHcy, but its contribution to cognitive impairment has not been established. We designed this study to determine if tHcy is causally related to cognitive impairment in later life by investigating its association with high tHcy and the MTHFR-C677T polymorphism. We recruited 1778 older men from the Health in Men Study cohort and established caseness on the basis of the participants' scores on a Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status score ⩽27 in 2008. Exposure to tHcy, gene status and other variables of interest were obtained from assessments 4–7 years earlier. Multivariate logistic regression showed that the odds of cognitive impairment increased with a doubling of tHcy (adjusted odds ratio, OR 1.36; 95% confidence interval, 95% CI 1.02–1.82). Compared with the wild CC genotype, participants with the MTHFR-TT genotype had 46% greater odds of cognitive impairment (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01–2.11, P=0.043). The results of this study are consistent with, but do not prove the hypothesis that high tHcy causes cognitive impairment in later life.
cognition; dementia; homocysteine; methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene
Objective: Down's syndrome (DS) is the most frequent genetic cause of Alzheimer-type dementia. Its metabolic phenotype involves an increased trans-sulphuration of homocysteine. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of homocysteinaemia (t-Hcys), folate, vitamin B12, and related polymorphisms on intelligence quotient (IQ) in DS.
Methods: The IQ of 131 patients with trisomy 21 from a specialist centre in Sicily was determined and classified according to DMS-IV. The effects of age, folate, vitamin B12, t-Hcys, and genetic polymorphisms on IQ were evaluated separately and in combination using regression analyses.
Results: IQ was significantly lower in DS patients with t-Hcys >7.5 µmol/l (median) and in those who were carriers of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677 T allele and of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677 T and transcobalamin 776 G combined alleles (p = 0.0013, p = 0.0165, and p = 0.0074, respectively). The IQ correlated significantly with t-Hcys and folate in single and multiple regression analyses, independently of age. In addition, t-Hcys >9.6 µmol/l (upper quartile) was found to be associated with low IQ (<40, median of study group) with an odds ratio of 2.61 (p = 0.0203). The odds ratio was increased by threefold in carriers of MTHFR 677T allele. The MTHFR 677T allele/transcobalamin 776 G allele combination was associated with the risk of DS patients to have an IQ less that the median with an odds ratio of 2.68 (95% CI 1.26 to 5.70, p = 0.0104).
Conclusion: This study found evidence of an association between t-Hcys and MTHFR 677 T and transcobalamin 776 G alleles with IQ in patients with DS. The association may be related to a defective remethylation of homocysteine, affecting IQ.
Background: Epidemiological research has shown that increased total homocysteine (tHcy) levels are associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic disease; however, controversy still exists over which subtype of stroke is allied to hyperhomocysteinemia. This study aimed to investigate whether elevated tHcy is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke and to compare tHcy levels in patients with ischemic stroke subtypes.
Methods: We performed a case-control study, in which 171 ischemic stroke patients aged over 16 years and 86 age and sex-matched controls were eligible to participate and were enrolled from January 2009 to January 2010. The patients’ demographic data, traditional stroke risk factors, and the results of fasting tHcy, vitamin B12, and folate of serum were collected in the first 5 days after ischemic stroke. Stroke subtypes were classified according to the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST) criteria. SPSS software (version 13) was used for the statistical analysis of the data, and a P value smaller than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The mean fasting Hcy levels was significantly higher in the cases (16.2 μmol/L, 95% CI: 14.8 to 17.5) than in the controls (13.5 μmol/L, 95% CI: 12.4 to 14.6) (P=0.013). The mean Hcy levels was elevated significantly in those with cardioembolic strokes compared with the controls (17.7 μmol/L, 95% CI: 14.8 to 20.5; P=0.010). The plasma Hcy level was associated with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.17 (95% CI: 1.24 to 3.79; P=0.004) for Hcy above 15 μmol/L concentration for all types of stroke.
Conclusion: Our data showed that elevated serum Hcy is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke and it has a strong association with cardioembolic subtype.
Homocysteine; Risk factors; Vascular disease
The role of circulating levels of total homocysteine tHcy in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) is still under debate. One reason for conflicting results between previous studies on homocysteine and heart diseases could be consequence of different interactions between homocysteine and genes in different study populations. Many genetic factors play a role in folate-homocysteine metabolism, like functional polymorphism (Val108Met) in the Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene.
Methodology and Findings
Our aim was to examine the role of COMT Val158Met polymorphism and interaction of this polymorphism with serum tHcy and folate concentration on the risk of acute coronary and events in middle-aged men from eastern Finland. A population-based prospective cohort of 792 men aged 46–64 years was examined as part of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. During an average follow-up of 9.3 years, there were 69 acute coronary events in men with no previous history of CHD. When comparing the COMT low activity genotype with the others, we found an age and examination year adjusted hazard rate ratio (HRR) of 1.73 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07–2.79), and an age, examination year, serum LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride concentration, systolic blood pressure and smoking adjusted HRR of 1.77 (95% CI, 1.05–2.77). Although serum tHcy concentration was not statistically significantly associated with acute coronary events (HRR for the highest third versus others 1.52, 95% CI, 0.93–2.49), subjects with both high serum tHcy and the COMT low activity genotype had an additionally increased adjusted risk of HRR 2.94 (95% CI 1.50–5.76) as compared with other men.
This prospective cohort study suggests that the functional COMT Val158Met polymorphism is associated with increased risk of acute coronary events and it may interact with high serum tHcy levels.
This study assessed folate intakes, folate concentrations in plasma and erythrocytes, plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentration, and urinary excretion of folate metabolites in Korean women with childbearing potential. A total of 23 women voluntarily participated in this study. Precise dietary intakes for 3 consecutive days were determined by weighing all foods consumed and folate intake was calculated using a computer-aided dietary analysis system. Folate concentration of plasma and erythrocytes was determined by a microbiological method. Plasma tHcy concentration was assayed using an HPLC analysis method. Urine excreted over the same period of time was collected and folate catabolites, para-aminobenzoylglutamate (pABG) and para-acetamidobenzoylglutamate (ApABG), were evaluated using a reverse-phase HPLC method after affinity chromatography. Young women of 20 and under were likely to consume less folate with low energy intake, had lower folate concentration in plasma and erythrocytes, and excreted a lesser amount of ApABG and total folate catabolites than women of 25 years and over. The results of this study confirmed that young Korean women with childbearing potential, especially those under 21 years of age, might be at risk for compromised folate status due to insufficient folate intakes from inadequate energy consumption.
Folate; folate catabolites; homocysteine; childbearing age women
AIM—To study the effect of folate
treatment on hyperhomocysteinaemia and the effect of
5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene polymorphism on
total homocysteine and folate concentrations after renal transplantation.
METHODS—A total of 30 transplanted
children and adolescents were investigated for total homocysteine and
folate serum concentrations before and after folate treatment, as well
as for the presence of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism.
RESULTS—The allele frequency of
C677T polymorphism in the MTHFR gene in the study population (0.33) was
not different to that in controls (0.38). Before folate treatment the
homocysteine concentration was raised in all groups; following folate
supplementation it was significantly decreased in the CC and CT groups,
but not in the TT group. In patients with CC genotype, serum
homocysteine correlated with serum creatinine and cholesterol, and time
since transplantation before treatment.
appears to be an effective strategy to normalise total homocysteine
concentration in renal transplanted children and adolescents.
The homocysteine level is considered to be a product of genetic and lifestyle interactions, mainly mutated methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and the intake of folate, vitamin B12 and pyridoxine, and their blood levels. Physical activity has been associated with lower homocysteine levels in some population studies, especially among elderly subjects. To further elucidate the observed association between homocysteine and physical activity, while accounting for the effect of the MTHFR C677T genotype, and of plasma levels of folate and B12 vitamins, a cross-sectional study of 620 males and females, aged 70.5 ± 6.8 years, was carried out. Information on lifestyle habits was collected and laboratory examinations of 12-h fasting total plasma homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B12, as well as DNA analysis for MTHFR C677T variant, were performed. Median total homocysteine values were 11.4 μmol/l for males and 9.4 for females; p < 0.001. Smoking and ethnic origin were not found to be associated with homocysteine levels. Physically active subjects had significantly lower total homocysteine levels when adjusted for sex (p = 0.01). Significant inverse correlations were found between body mass index, plasma folate, B12 and homocysteine levels. Homocysteine levels of the CC, CT and TT genotypes were 9.7, 10.6 and 10.2 μmol/l, respectively (p = 0.002, controlling for sex). In a multiple linear regression model, a sedentary lifestyle increased homocysteine levels by 7% as compared to an active one (p = 0.03) controlling for sex, age, body mass index, folate, vitamin B12, and C677T genotype, all of which were also found to be significantly associated with homocysteine levels. Any level of physical activity was found to be independently associated with lower homocysteine levels in an elderly population, controlling for MTHFR genotype, plasma B-vitamins, age, sex, smoking and BMI. This study emphasizes the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle in the elderly.
B vitamins; Elderly; Homocysteine; Lifestyle; MTHFR genotyping; Physical activity
Patients with vascular dementia (VaD) exhibit particularly elevated levels of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) compared to patients with other psychogeriatric diseases.
We investigated the main determinants (age, renal impairment, cobalamin/folate status and presence of extracerebral vascular disease) of plasma tHcy in 525 patients with VaD. Furthermore, 270 patients with depression were used as a reference group to reveal the potential specificity of elevated plasma tHcy in patients with VaD.
Elevated plasma tHcy levels in patients with VaD could only partly be attributed to cobalamin/folate deficiency or renal impairment. Plasma tHcy might also be related to the vascular disease process since patients with depression and vascular disease exhibited similar plasma tHcy levels to patients with VaD.
Our findings suggest that elevated plasma tHcy might be a sensitive marker for the vascular disease process in patients with VaD and that the level also is a reflection of changes in the other main determinants of plasma tHcy.
Cobalamin; Creatinine; Folate; Homocysteine; Depression; Vascular dementia; Vascular disease
Several nutritional and physiological factors have been linked to depression in adults including low folate and vitamin B-12 and elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) levels.
Nationally representative data on US adults (aged 20–85 years, n=2,524) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the period 2005–06 were used. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and elevated symptoms were defined as PHQ total score≥10. Serum folate, vitamin B-12 and tHcy were mainly expressed as tertiles. Age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, poverty income ratio, marital status, smoking status, physical activity, body mass index and selected nutrient intakes (average of two 24-hr recalls) were considered as potential confounders. Multiple ordinary least square (OLS), logistic and zero-inflated Poisson regression models were conducted in the main analysis.
Overall, mean PHQ score was significantly higher among women compared to men. Elevated depressive symptoms (PHQ≥10) were inversely associated with folate status particularly among women [Fully adjusted odds ratio (Tertiles T3 vs. T1)=0.37 (95% CI = 0.17–0.86)], but not significantly related to tHcy or vitamin B-12. No interaction was noted between the three exposures in affecting depressive symptoms. In older adults (≥50 years) and both sexes combined, total homocysteine was positively associated with elevated depressive symptoms [Fully adjusted odds ratio (Tertiles T2 vs. T1)=3.01 (95% CI = 1.01–9.03)], though no significant dose-response relationship was found.
Future interventions aiming at improving mental health outcomes among US adults should take into account dietary and other factors that would increase levels of serum folate.
Depression; folate; vitamin B-12; homocysteine; adults
Study objective: To investigate the effect of the voluntary folate fortification policy in Australia on serum folate and total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations.
Design: Population based cohort study.
Setting: Perth, Western Australia.
Participants: Men and women aged 27 to 77 years (n = 468), who were originally randomly selected from the Perth electoral roll. The cohort was surveyed in 1995/96 before widespread introduction of folate fortification of a variety of foods, and followed up on two occasions, firstly in 1998/99 and again in 2001, when a moderate number of folate fortified foods were available. Subjects with abnormal serum creatinine concentrations at baseline were excluded from this analysis.
Main results: Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to determine changes in serum folate and tHcy over the three surveys and to assess whether time trends were related to age, sex, MTHFR C677T genotype, or consumption of folate fortified foods. An increase (38%) in mean serum folate (p<0.0005) and a decrease (21%) in mean tHcy (p<0.0005) were seen after introduction of the voluntary folate fortification policy in Australia. Serum folate was consistently higher (p = 0.032) and tHcy was consistently lower (p = 0.001) in subjects who consumed at least one folate fortified food compared with subjects who did not consume any folate fortified foods in the previous week. The time related changes in serum folate and tHcy were affected only by intake of folate fortified foods (p<0.0005) and not by any other measured variables including age, sex, or MTHFR genotype.
Conclusion: Voluntary fortification of foods with folate in Australia has been followed by a substantial increase in serum folate and decrease in tHcy in the general population.
Conflicting results have been reported on the association of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and cholesterol levels in Alzheimer disease (AD). The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between cognitive performance and plasma levels of tHcy and its biological determinants folate and vitamin B12, and lipids in clinically diagnosed AD patients.
A cross-sectional database review was performed on two separate groups of patients (n = 191). Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) scores, plasma levels of tHcy, vitamin B12, folate, cholesterol, and triglycerides were analyzed.
The MMSE scores were inversely correlated with age, plasma levels of tHcy and LDL cholesterol. However, only the inverse relationship between MMSE scores and LDL cholesterol levels persisted after adjustment for age, sex, and status of statin treatment. Plasma tHcy levels increased significantly with age and were inversely related to vitamin B12 and folate levels, which modified the relationship between MMSE scores and plasma tHcy levels.
The plasma tHcy levels appeared to relate more to aging than to cognition. Cognitive performance was inversely associated with plasma LDL cholesterol levels in AD patients. Our findings provide further evidence that high LDL cholesterol levels may play a role in the pathogenesis of AD.
Cognition; Homocysteine; Cholesterol; Alzheimer disease