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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2005 Mar;29(3):334-6.

Evidence of increased homocysteine levels in alcoholism: the Franconian alcoholism research studies (FARS).

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Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.



A limited number of investigations have studied clearly defined patients with alcoholism and blood alcohol concentrations with their correlation to plasma homocysteine values and differentiated actively drinking patients from those with early abstinence. Therefore, this power analysis-based study was undertaken to determine whether plasma homocysteine levels are evidently altered in actively drinking alcoholic patients and patients with early abstinence.


Two groups of patients with an established diagnosis of alcohol dependence. For both groups, a power of 90% (alpha = 0.05) was applied. Group A comprised 144 consecutively admitted actively drinking patients with alcoholism. Group B consisted of 56 patients with alcoholism who had abstained from alcohol for 24 to 72 hr before admission to the hospital.


Plasma homocysteine levels were significantly (t test: df = 198, t = -8.6, p < 0.0001) higher at admission when comparing group A with group B. The highly increased homocysteine levels in actively drinking patients with alcoholism were based on a strong significant positive correlation with the blood alcohol concentration (multiple regression analysis, p < 0.0001).


Plasma homocysteine levels are evidently altered in actively drinking patients with alcoholism. Even though it has been described, the authors found no evidence for an increase of homocysteine levels in alcoholic patients with early abstinence. The current results emphasize the proposed pathogenetic role of increased plasma homocysteine levels in alcohol-related disorders (i.e., brain atrophy, alcohol withdrawal seizures).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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