The role of elevated homocysteine in primary and secondary Raynaud phenomenon (RP) and in patients with atherosclerosis has been reported controversially. In secondary RP due to connective tissue disease specific alterations of nailfold capillaries might be present. An association between these microvascular changes and homocysteine has been suggested.
The aim of this study was to determine whether homocysteine level differs between patients with primary and secondary RP and to test the hypothesis that homocysteine or other cardiovascular risk factors are associated with specific features of microangiopathy in secondary RP.
Patients and Methods
Eighty-one consecutive patients with RP referred for vascular assessment were studied by nailfold capillaroscopy. Homocysteine, C-reactive protein and cholesterol were measured and other cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities assessed.
Homocysteine, C-reactive-protein and cholesterol levels did not differ between patients with primary (n=60) and secondary RP (n=21). Likewise, no differences in the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities were found. In secondary RP no correlation was found between microvascular involvement and homocysteine or C-reactive protein.
Plasma homocysteine is not different in patients with either primary or secondary RP and is therefore not a marker for the distinction of these diseases. The extent of microvascular involvement in secondary RP does not correlate with plasma homocysteine.