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QJM. 1997 Aug;90(8):511-7.

Sequence analysis of the coding region of human methionine synthase: relevance to hyperhomocysteinaemia in neural-tube defects and vascular disease.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Elevated homocysteine (Hcy) levels are observed in two apparently unrelated diseases: neural-tube defects (NTD) and premature vascular disease. Defective human methionine synthase (MS) could result in elevated Hcy levels. We sequenced the coding region of MS in 8 hyperhomocysteinaemic patients (4 NTD patients and 4 patients with pregnancies complicated by spiral arterial disease, SAD). We identified only one mutation resulting in an amino acid substitution: an A-->G transition at bp 2756, converting an aspartic acid (D919) into a glycine (G). We screened genomic DNA for the presence of this mutation in 56 NTD patients, 69 mothers of children with NTD, 108 SAD patients and 364 controls. There was no increased prevalence of the GG and AG genotypes in NTD patients, their mothers or SAD patients. The D919G mutation does not seem to be a risk factor for NTD or vascular disease. We then examined the mean Hcy levels for each MS genotype. There was no correlation between GG- or AG-genotype and Hcy levels. The D919G mutation is thus a fairly prevalent, and probably benign polymorphism. This study, though limited, provides no evidence for a major involvement of MS in the aetiology of homocysteine-related diseases such as NTD or vascular disease.

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