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Hum Reprod Update. 1999 Jan-Feb;5(1):64-72.

Homocysteine--a pathophysiological cornerstone in obstetrical and gynaecological disorders?

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital, Vienna, Austria.


Homocysteine, a product of the methionine cycle, is known to play an important role in cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders and embryology, and in very important, fast growing fields concerning obstetrics and gynaecology. Therefore, we attempted an actual overview on possible obstetrical and gynaecological disorders as a consequence of an impaired methionine cycle. We tried to evaluate all mechanisms concerning homocysteine metabolism in order to look for hypothetical possibilities of therapeutic interventions. Using MEDLINE starting in January 1966, a search was conducted for articles published in which homocysteine was included as a subject heading or a text word. This search was also specified in combination with other key words such as obstetrics, pregnancy, gynaecology and cancer. Additional sources were identified through cross-referencing. All sources found were examined with regard to providing substantial information on our topic. The information obtained was divided into articles dealing with homocysteine and the methionine cycle itself, homocysteine and pregnancy, and homocysteine and hormones, including menopause, hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives. Another group was concerned with other special gynaecological aspects of the methionine cycle. We suggest that elevated concentrations of homocysteine could be a marker and perhaps a cause of, or contributive to, a wide range of obstetrical and gynaecological disorders.

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