Increased homocysteine and S-adenosylhomocysteine concentrations and DNA hypomethylation in vascular disease

Rita Castro, Isabel Rivera, Eduard A. Struys, Erwin E.W. Jansen, Paula Ravasco, Maria Ermelinda Camilo, Henk J. Blom, Cornelis Jakobs, Isabel Tavares De Almeida

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Background: The pathogenic mechanism of homocysteine's effect on cardiovascular risk is poorly understood. Recent studies show that DNA hypomethylation induced by increases in S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy), an intermediate of Hcy metabolism and a potent inhibitor of methyltransferases, may be involved in homocysteine-related pathology. Methods: We measured fasting plasma total Hcy (tHcy), AdoHcy, and S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) and methylation in leukocytes in 17 patients with vascular disease and in 15 healthy, age- and sex-matched controls. Results: Patient with vascular disease had significantly higher plasma tHcy and AdoHcy concentrations and significantly lower plasma AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios and genornic DNA methylation. AdoMet concentrations were not significantly different between the two groups. More than 50% of the patients fell into the highest quartiles of plasma tHcy, AdoHcy, and [3H]dCTP incorporation/μg of DNA (meaning the lowest quartile of DNA methylation status) and into the lowest quartile of the AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios of the control group. Plasma tHcy was significantly correlated with plasma AdoHcy and AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios (n = 32; P < 0.001). DNA methylation status was significantly correlated with plasma tHcy and AdoHcy (n = 32; P < 0.01) but not with plasma AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios. Conclusion: Global DNA methylation may be altered in vascular disease, with a concomitant increase in plasma tHcy and AdoHcy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1292-1296
Number of pages5
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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