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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 May-Jun;42(5):481-6. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e318046eab0.

Hyperhomocysteinemia in inflammatory bowel disease patients without past intestinal resections: correlations with cobalamin, pyridoxine, folate concentrations, acute phase reactants, disease activity, and prior thromboembolic complications.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey.



Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid formed during the demethylation of methionine and high levels of this amino acid is a known risk factor for both arterial and also venous thromboembolic complications. Deficiencies of cobalamin, folate, and pyridoxine may predispose subjects to hyperhomocysteinemia, a common phenomenon in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence, risk factors of hyperhomocysteinemia and its correlation with prior thromboembolic events in an IBD cohort without past intestinal resections.


In this prospective study, we studied the concentrations of homocysteine, cobalamin, folate, and pyridoxine in 105 consecutive patients with IBD, of whom 11 had a prior history of thromboembolic complications. Data regarding smoking habits, medication use, disease location, and severity were gathered and patients with past intestinal resections were excluded. Age-matched and sex-matched 85 healthy volunteers served as controls and multivariate regression analysis was performed to find out independent predictors of hyperhomocysteinemia.


The mean age (+/-SD) in the IBD cohort was 38.69+/-12.13 years, and 51% were male. The mean age in the control group was 37.61+/-10.05 years, and 52% were male. Homocysteine concentrations in patients were higher [16.35 micromol/L (range 6.82 to 48.15) vs. 9.60 micromol/L (range 4.97 to 17.39), P=0.000] and hyperhomocysteinemia had a higher prevalence in patients than in the controls (56.2% vs. 4.7%, chi2=56.179, P=0.000), thus IBD significantly increased the risk of hyperhomocysteinemia [odds ratio=25.973 (95% confidence interval: 8.861-76.128)]. Homocysteine concentrations in patients with a history of thrombosis were not higher than those without a history of thrombosis [16.29 micromol/L (range 8.45 to 34.75) vs. 16.36 micromol/L (range 6.82 to 48.15), not significant]. Hyperhomocysteinemia was found in 54.5% of patients with thrombosis and 56.4% of patients without thrombosis (not significant). On stepwise regression analysis, plasma cobalamin level, albumin concentration, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and platelet count were found to be independent predictors of elevated homocysteine levels.


IBD patients have a higher prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia than do healthy controls and elevated homocysteine levels are independently associated with lower serum cobalamin, albumin levels and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and platelet count. There is no correlation between hyperhomocysteinemia and a history of prior thromboembolic events.

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