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Mol Cell Biochem. 2000 Apr;207(1-2):143-8.

Atherosclerosis risk factors: the possible role of homocysteine.

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The Lipid Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death in North America. It is characterized by thickening of the coronary artery wall by the formation of plaques, resulting in reduced blood flow. Plaque rupture and the consequent thrombosis may lead to sudden blockage of arteries and causing stroke and heart attack. In the last several decades, more than 250 factors associated with the development of coronary artery disease have been identified. Recently, a relationship between atherosclerosis and elevated homocysteine level in the blood has been established. The mechanism for the production of atherosclerosis by homocysteine has been investigated. When human hepatoma cells (HepG2) were incubated with 4 mM homocysteine, enhancements in the production of cholesterol and secretion of apolipoprotein B-100 were observed. The stimulatory effect on cholesterol synthesis was mediated via the enhancement of HMG-CoA reductase, which catalyzes the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis. Cholesterol appears to play an important role in the regulation of apoB-100 secretion by hepatocytes. It is plausible that the increase in apoB secretion was caused by the elevated cholesterol level induced by homocysteine. The ability of homocysteine to produce a higher amount of cholesterol and promote the secretion of apoB would provide a plausible mechanism for the observed relationship between hyperhomocysteinemia and the development of atherogenesis and coronary artery disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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