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Coron Artery Dis. 1995 Nov;6(11):851-6.

Homocysteinaemia after methionine overload as a coronary artery disease risk factor: importance of age and homocysteine levels.

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Faculty of Medical Sciences, Lisbon, Portugal.



Homocysteinaemia is now accepted as an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). Our goal was to study the influence of age plasma homocysteine level on the CAD risk attributable to homocysteinaemia.


We studied a group of 98 patients under 55 years of age who had suffered a myocardial infarction 3-12 months before the study. The patients were matched by sex and age with a group of 98 controls without vascular disease. We measured the plasma homocysteine levels 6h after a methionine overload of 0.1 g/kg body weight in patients and controls. Afterwards, the odds ratio for homocysteinaemia was determined by homocysteine level, and that for hyperhomocysteinaemia (homocysteine level > 34 mumol/l) by age group.


After methionine loading, the homocysteine odds ratio varied from 0.47 (homocysteine level < 23 mumol/l) to 2.88 (homocysteine level > 34 mumol/l). In patients under the age of 46 the odds ratio for hyperhomocysteinaemia was 18.6. In patients between 46 and 55 years of age the odds ratio for hyperhomocysteinaemia was 1.2.


Low homocysteine levels are protective against CAD, and the higher the homocysteine level the higher the coronary risk appears to be. This clearly means that heterozygosity for cystathionine beta synthase deficiency alone is not enough to explain the vascular risk associated with homocysteinaemia. Hyperhomocysteinemia was shown to be a significant risk factor only in patients under the age of 46 years old.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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