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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2005 Apr;15(2):100-8. Epub 2005 Apr 14.

Role of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid on hyperhomocysteinemia in a Pakistani population of patients with acute myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Department of Biological & Biomedical Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, PO Box 3500, Karachi 74800, Pakistan.



Pakistani people belong to an ethnic group which has the highest rate of coronary artery disease (CAD). We investigated the possible correlation between deficiency of vitamins B6, B12 or folic acid and hyperhomocysteinemia in Pakistani patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). A case-control study was carried out involving 224 AMI patients (age 30-70 years; 55 females and 169 males) and 126 normal healthy subjects (age 31-70 years; 35 females and 91 males).


Fasting venous blood was obtained from cases and controls. Serum was analyzed for folic acid and B12 using radioassays. Plasma was analyzed for pyridoxal phosphate (PLP; coenzymic form of B6) using a radioenzymatic assay and for total homocysteine using a fluorescence polarization immunoassay. Mean serum B12 concentration in AMI patients was found to be significantly lower than the mean for controls (241+/-185 pg/ml vs 608+/-341 pg/ml; p < 0.001). Mean serum folate level in patients was also found to be lower than controls (3.35+/-3.78 ng/ml vs 4.93+/-2.93 ng/ml), however, the differences were not statistically significant. Similarly, mean PLP concentration in plasma of cases (19.4+/-24.4 nmol/l) was lower than the concentration in controls (23.2+/-17.6 nmol/l), but the difference was not statistically significant. Mean plasma homocysteine level in AMI cases (18+/-8.36 micromol/l) was higher than the mean level in controls (16.4+/-4.9 micromol/l), but not to a significant extent. However, this mean homocysteine concentration in normal healthy subjects was among the highest reported in the literature and was significantly more than mean values reported in most Eastern and Western studies. Compared to controls, there was significantly greater deficiency of folate (32.5% vs 67.1%), B12 (3.2% vs 63.4%) and PLP (49.2% vs 74.1%) in AMI patients. Deficiencies of folate, B12 and PLP were defined as serum folate levels less than 3.5 ng/ml, serum levels of B12 less than 200 pg/ml and plasma PLP levels less than 20 nmol/l. Mean plasma homocysteine levels in smokers were found to be significantly higher in both cases and controls. Similarly, mean serum folate levels in smokers (compared to nonsmokers) were significantly lower in both cases and controls.


Substantial nutritional deficiencies of these three vitamins along with mild hyperhomocysteinemia, perhaps through an interplay with the classical cardiovascular risk factors (highly prevalent in this population), could be further aggravating the risk of CAD in the Pakistani population.

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