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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jan 1;103(1):56-63. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-01076.

Decreased Homocysteine Trans-Sulfuration in Hypertension With Hyperhomocysteinemia: Relationship With Insulin Resistance.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Division of Metabolic Diseases, University of Padova, Italy.



Homocysteine is an independent cardiovascular risk factor and is elevated in essential hypertension. Insulin stimulates homocysteine catabolism in healthy individuals. However, the mechanisms of hyperhomocysteinemia and its relationship with insulin resistance in essential hypertension are unknown.


To investigate whole body methionine and homocysteine kinetics and the effects of insulin in essential hypertension.

Design and Setting:

Eight hypertensive male subjects and six male normotensive controls were infused with l-[methyl-2H3,1-13C]methionine for 6 hours. In the last 3 hours a euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp was performed. Steady-state methionine and homocysteine kinetics were determined in postabsorptive and hyperinsulinemic conditions.


Postabsorptive hypertensive subjects had elevated homocysteine concentrations (+30%, P = 0.035) and slightly (by 15% to 20%) but insignificantly lower methionine rates of appearance (Ras) (P = 0.07 to P = 0.05) and utilization for protein synthesis (P = 0.06) than postabsorptive normotensive controls. Hyperinsulinemia suppressed methionine Ra and protein synthesis, whereas it increased homocysteine trans-sulfuration, clearance, and methionine transmethylation (the latter only in the normotensive subjects). However, in the hypertensive subjects trans-sulfuration was significantly lower (P < 0.05) and increased ~50% less [by +1.59 ± 0.34 vs +3.45 ± 0.52 µmol/kg lean body mass (LBM) per hour, P < 0.005] than in normotensive controls. Homocysteine clearance through trans-sulfuration was ~50% lower in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects (P < 0.005). In the hypertensive subjects, insulin-mediated glucose disposal was ~45% lower (460 ± 44 vs 792 ± 67 mg/kg LBM per hour, P < 0.0005) than in normotensive controls and was positively correlated with the increase of trans-sulfuration (P < 0.0015).


In subjects with essential hypertension, hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with decreased homocysteine trans-sulfuration and probably represents a feature of insulin resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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