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Endocr Pract. 2000 Nov-Dec;6(6):435-41.

Hyperhomocysteinemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus: cardiovascular risk factors and effect of treatment with folic acid and pyridoxine.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and VA Medical Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.



To determine whether hyperhomocysteinemia (HH) exacerbates other cardiovascular risk factors and markers of coagulation and hemostasis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and whether treatment of HH with vitamins will alter these risk factors.


We measured several cardiovascular risk factors and markers of coagulation and hemostasis in patients with type 2 DM with and without HH. We also treated patients with type 2 DM and coexistent HH with high doses of folic acid and pyridoxine to determine whether this treatment would lower plasma total homocysteine concentrations as well as correct other associated cardiovascular risk factors in this population.


Plasma levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 and fibrinogen were significantly higher in all patients with DM in comparison with control subjects (P<0.01), whether they had HH or not. No significant difference was noted between the two groups of patients with DM. The presence of hypertension and microalbuminuria did not lead to a higher plasma total homocysteine. After treatment with folic acid, 15 mg daily, and pyridoxine, 600 mg daily, fasting (basal) plasma total homocysteine declined significantly in patients with DM from 12.3 +/- 2.9 micromol/L to 9.1 +/- 1.1 micromol/L (P<0.01). The peak post-methionine load plasma total homocysteine in the patients with DM decreased from 39.9 +/- 11.4 micromol/L to 30.4 +/- 6.5 micromol/L (P<0.05). Neither fasting nor peak plasma total homocysteine changed in normal subjects. None of the cardiovascular risk factors measured changed significantly with the vitamin treatment.


The coexistence of type 2 DM and HH does not lead to an exacerbation of abnormalities in the measured variables of coagulation and hemostasis. Treatment with high doses of folic acid and pyridoxine lowers the plasma total homocysteine significantly but does not improve any of the associated cardiovascular risk factors that we measured. Long-term clinical trials should be conducted to determine whether high-dose vitamin treatment will diminish the increased morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 DM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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