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J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1989-94.

Polymorphisms in cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase affect the risk of cardiovascular disease in men.

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  • 1Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Genetic variation in folate-regulating enzymes contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The cytoplasmic serine hydroxymethyltransferase (cSHMT) enzyme is proposed to regulate a key metabolic intersection in folate metabolism. We hypothesized that a variant in cSHMT (cSHMT 1420C-->T) affects CVD risk, and that the effect depends on a linked step in the metabolic pathway catalyzed by methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). A nested case-control study of incident CVD was conducted within the all-male Normative Aging Study cohort. Of the incident CVD cases, 507 had DNA samples; 2 controls/case were selected by risk set sampling (matched on age and birth year). A significant gene-gene interaction (P-values 0.0013, 0.0064) was found between MTHFR and cSHMT, and there was little or no change in the coefficients in covariate-adjusted models. The effect of MTHFR 677C-->T genotype on CVD risk varied by cSHMT 1420C-->T genotype. Among men with cSHMT 1420C-->T TT genotype, the odds ratios (OR) for CVD risk for MTHFR 677C-->T CT and TT genotypes compared with the MTHFR 677C-->T CC genotype were 3.6 (95% CI, 1.7-7.8) and 10.6 (95% CI, 2.5-46.0), respectively. Among men with the cSHMT 1420C-->T CC/CT genotype, the corresponding ORs were 1.0 (95% CI, 0.8-1.2) and 1.3 (95% CI, 0.9-1.8). Plasma total homocysteine concentrations were highest in the subgroup of men with both polymorphisms, MTHFR 677C-->T TT and cSHMT 1420C-->T TT, consistent with a higher risk of CVD in this subgroup. A more complete understanding of the molecular mechanism awaits identification of the functional effect of the polymorphism.

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