Article

Hyperhomocysteinemia in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis is not influenced by methotrexate treatment and folic acid supplementation: A pilot study

Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Clinical and experimental rheumatology (Impact Factor: 2.97). 03/2003; 21(2):249-55.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Our first objective was to compare plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients requiring methotrexate (MTX) treatment and healthy children. Our second aim was to evaluate the influence of low-dose (10-15 mg/m2/week) MTX treatment combined with folic acid supplementation (1 mg/d) or placebo on tHcy concentrations in JIA patients.
In 17 JIA patients and 17 age- and sex-matched healthy children, baseline tHcy concentrations were measured. When MTX treatment was initiated, JIA patients were randomly assigned to folic acid 1 mg/d/p.o. followed by placebo (8 weeks each) or vice versa. Blood samples for measurement of tHcy, vitamin B6, B12 and folate were taken after 4 weeks, 12 weeks and 20 weeks of treatment.
1) In the healthy children the mean tHcy concentration was 6.3 +/- 1.68 mumol/l as compared to 9.99 +/- 5.17 mumol/l in JIA patients (p < 0.04). At baseline, 5/17 JIA patients had tHcy concentrations > 10.5 mumol/l, the 99th percentile for teenagers. 3/5 patients even exceeded the upper normal level for adults (tHcy > or = 15 mumol/l). MTX treatment did not result in a significant increase of tHcy and folic acid supplementation had no significant impact on tHcy levels.
This pilot study shows that patients with JIA requiring MTX treatment have significantly elevated baseline plasma tHcy concentrations compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls. No significant impact of MTX and folate supplementation on tHcy concentration was found.

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