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Am J Ophthalmol. 2002 Jul;134(1):57-61.

The role of hyperhomocysteinemia and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T mutation in patients with retinal artery occlusion.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria.



Hyperhomocysteinemia has been established as an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether hyperhomocysteinemia and/or homozygosity for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T mutation are associated with an increased risk for retinal artery occlusion (RAO).


Retrospective case-control study.


We studied 105 consecutive patients with retinal artery occlusion and 105 age and sex-matched control subjects. Fasting plasma homocysteine levels were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, while genotypes of the MTHFR C677T mutation were determined by polymerase chain reaction.


Mean plasma homocysteine levels were significantly higher in patients with RAO compared with control subjects (12.2 +/- 4.8 micromol/l vs 10.3 +/- 3.4 micromol/l; P =.003). Hyperhomocysteinemia was defined by the 95th percentile of control plasma homocysteine levels as 15.8 micromol/l. Twenty (19.1%) patients with RAO exceeded this level and were therefore classified as hyperhomocysteinemic compared with 5 (4.8%) control subjects (P =.003). The odds ratio for these patients was calculated at 4.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5-15.1). Mean plasma folate levels were significantly lower in patients than in the control group (5.6 +/- 2.3 ng/ml vs. 6.3 +/- 2.5 ng/ml; P =.04). The prevalence of the homozygous genotype of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase C677T mutation did not significantly differ between patients and controls.


Our results suggest that hyperhomocysteinemia, but not homozygosity, for the MTHFR C677T mutation is associated with RAO.

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