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Acta Cardiol. 2007 Dec;62(6):579-85.

Effects of folic acid and N-acetylcysteine on plasma homocysteine levels and endothelial function in patients with coronary artery disease.

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Department of Cardiology, Siyami Ersek Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Center, Istanbul, Turkey.



Hyperhomocysteinaemia is related with premature coronary artery disease and adverse cardiac events in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). It is assumed that hyper-homocysteinaemia causes endothelial dysfunction. In this study, the effect of folic acid and oral N-acetylcysteine (NAC) therapies on plasma homocysteine levels and endothelial function were evaluated in hyperhomocysteinaemic patients with CAD.


60 patients were randomized to either folic acid 5 mg or NAC 600 mg or placebo daily for eight weeks. Brachial artery endothelial functions were studied by using high-resolution ultrasound and assessed by measuring endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) and endothelium-independent dilation (NEDD). Folic acid and NAC therapies decreased plasma homocysteine (from 21.7 +/- 8.7 micromol/l to 12.5 +/- 2.5 micromol/l, P < 0.001; from 20.9 +/- 7.6 micromol/l to 15.6 +/- 4.3 micromol/l, P = 0.03, respectively), and increased EDD (6.7 +/- 6.1% P = 0.002, 4.4 +/- 2.6% P < 0.001, respectively) compared with placebo. There was no significant difference in improving EDD between the folic acid and the NAC group (6.7 +/- 6.1%, 4.4 +/- 2.6%, P = 0. 168). In the univariate analyses there was an inverse correlation between the post-treatment homocysteine level and the percent change in EDD with folic acid therapy (r= -0.490, P = 0.028), but there was no correlation with the NAC therapy (r = 0.259, P = 0.333)


In patients with hyperhomocysteinaemic CAD, folic acid and NAC lowered plasma homocysteine levels and improved endothelial function. The effects of both treatments in improvement of EDD were similar.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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