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J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Jun;19(6):362-70. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Dietary methionine effects on plasma homocysteine and HDL metabolism in mice.

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  • 1Department of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The effects of dietary manipulation of folate and methionine on plasma homocysteine (Hcy) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in wild-type and apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice were determined. A low-folate diet with or without folate and/or methionine supplementation in drinking water was administered for 7 weeks. Fasted Hcy rose to 23 microM on a low-folate/high-methionine diet, but high folate ameliorated the effect of high methionine on fasted plasma Hcy to approximately 10 microM. Determination of nonfasted plasma Hcy levels at 6-h intervals revealed a large diurnal variation in Hcy consistent with a nocturnal lifestyle. The daily average of nonfasted Hcy levels was higher than fasted values for high-methionine diets but lower than fasted values for low-methionine diets. An acute methionine load by gavage of fasted mice increased plasma Hcy 2.5 h later, but mice that had been on high-methionine diets had a lower fold induction. Mice fed high-methionine diets weighed less than mice fed low-methionine diets. Based on these results, two solid-food diets were developed: one containing 2% added methionine and the other containing 2% added glycine. The methionine diet led to fasted plasma Hcy levels of >60 microM, higher than those with methionine supplementation in drinking water. Mice on methionine diets had >20% decreased body weights and decreased HDL-C levels. An HDL turnover study demonstrated that the HDL-C production rate was significantly reduced in mice fed the methionine diet.

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