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Clin Chem. 2003 Aug;49(8):1292-6.

Increased homocysteine and S-adenosylhomocysteine concentrations and DNA hypomethylation in vascular disease.

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Centro de Patogénese Molecular, Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, 1649-039 Lisbon, Portugal.



The pathogenic mechanism of homocysteine's effect on cardiovascular risk is poorly understood. Recent studies show that DNA hypomethylation induced by increases in S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy), an intermediate of Hcy metabolism and a potent inhibitor of methyltransferases, may be involved in homocysteine-related pathology.


We measured fasting plasma total Hcy (tHcy), AdoHcy, and S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) and methylation in leukocytes in 17 patients with vascular disease and in 15 healthy, age- and sex-matched controls.


Patient with vascular disease had significantly higher plasma tHcy and AdoHcy concentrations and significantly lower plasma AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios and genomic DNA methylation. AdoMet concentrations were not significantly different between the two groups. More than 50% of the patients fell into the highest quartiles of plasma tHcy, AdoHcy, and [(3)H]dCTP incorporation/ micro g of DNA (meaning the lowest quartile of DNA methylation status) and into the lowest quartile of the AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios of the control group. Plasma tHcy was significantly correlated with plasma AdoHcy and AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios (n = 32; P < 0.001). DNA methylation status was significantly correlated with plasma tHcy and AdoHcy (n = 32; P < 0.01) but not with plasma AdoMet/AdoHcy ratios.


Global DNA methylation may be altered in vascular disease, with a concomitant increase in plasma tHcy and AdoHcy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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