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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002 Jan;37(1):62-7.

Hyperhomocysteinaemia, coagulation pathway activation and thrombophilia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, Aalborg Hospital, Denmark.



The 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C-->T polymorphism encoding the thermolabile variant is, when present as homozygote type (TT variant), a known genetic cause of mild hyperhomocysteinaemia (HHCY). This polymorphism has been observed in increased numbers in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Coagulation and fibrinolysis are activated in patients with active IBD, but it is not known whether raised plasma homocysteine (HCY) found in patients with IBD significantly contributes to this activation. The aim of this study was to investigate if HHCY or presence of the TT variant significantly induces a hypercoagulable state in IBD patients receiving anti-inflammatory therapy during active disease, and to study if genetic determinants for thromboembolic disease are more frequent in these patients.


The study was designed as a cross-sectional study in an outpatient clinic comprising 106 IBD patients receiving anti-inflammatory therapy. Markers of coagulation were measured in order to elucidate whether patients with HHCY or the MTHFR TT variant were hypercoagulant compared with patients with no impairment of HCY metabolism. In addition, markers of inflammation and acute-phase reactants were measured in order to compare activity during active disease and during remission. Genetic determinants of thromboembolic disease in patients with IBD and in relevant controls were investigated in the expectation of a more frequent occurrence of these markers of thrombophilia if hypercoagulability could be a primary or contributory factor in IBD.


No significant difference could be found in coagulation activity, acute-phase reactants or inflammatory markers in IBD patients with the TT variant of the 677C-->4T polymorphism or high (>15 micromol/L) plasma HCY levels, compared with IBD patients with no impairment of HCY metabolism. In patients with IBD, the coagulation activity was significantly increased during active disease compared with a state of remission. As expected, a significant difference regarding interleukin 6, C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate was present in IBD, comparing active disease with a state of remission. No significant complement activation was present in either of the groups or during active disease. Neither of the allele frequencies of genetic determinants for thrombophilia (coagulation factor V 1691G-->A (factor V Leiden) and factor II 20210G-->A polymorphisms) in the background population differed significantly from that in IBD patients.


This study found no correlation between the MTHFR TT variant or HHCY and a hypercoagulable state in IBD patients receiving anti-inflammatory treatment. This coagulation activity is high during exacerbations of disease, but a considerable reduction is seen in patients on anti-inflammatory therapy compared with non-treated patients. Coagulation activation in IBD is probably a consequence of the inflammatory nature of the disease. That thrombophilia could be a contributory or primary factor in the development of IBD is not supported by the present study, as the frequencies for the genetic determinants for thrombophilia are similar in IBD patients and controls.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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