[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severely elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) levels observed in genetic disorders of Hcy metabolism are associated with pathologies in multiple organs and lead to premature death due to vascular complications. In addition to elevating plasma Hcy, mutations in cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene lead to markedly elevated levels of circulating Hcy-thiolactone. The thiooester chemistry of Hcy-thiolactone underlies its ability to form isopeptide bonds with protein lysine residues (N-Hcy-protein), which may impair or alter the protein's function. However, it was not known whether genetic deficiencies in Hcy metabolism affect N-Hcy-protein levels in humans. Here we show that plasma N-Hcy-protein levels are significantly elevated in CBS- and MTHFR-deficient patients. We also show that CBS-deficient patients have significantly elevated plasma levels of prothrombotic N-Hcy-fibrinogen. These results provide a possible explanation for increased atherothrombosis observed in CBS-deficient patients.
The FASEB Journal 09/2008; 22(12):4071-6. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic disorders of homocysteine (Hcy) metabolism or a high-methionine diet lead to elevations of plasma Hcy levels. In humans, severe genetic hyperhomocysteinemia results in premature death from vascular complications whereas dietary hyperhomocysteinemia is often used to induce atherosclerosis in animal models. Hcy is mistakenly selected in place of methionine by methionyl-tRNA synthetase during protein biosynthesis, which results in the formation of Hcy-thiolactone and initiates a pathophysiological pathway that has been implicated in human vascular disease. However, whether genetic deficiencies in Hcy metabolism or a high-methionine diet affect Hcy-thiolactone levels in mammals has been unknown. Here we show that plasma Hcy-thiolactone is elevated 59-fold and 72-fold in human patients with hyperhomocysteinemia secondary to mutations in methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and cystathionine beta-synthase genes, respectively. We also show that mice, like humans, eliminate Hcy-thiolactone by urinary excretion; in contrast to humans, however, mice also eliminate significant amounts of plasma total Hcy (approximately 38%) by urinary excretion. In mice, hyperhomocysteinemia secondary to a high-methionine diet leads to 3.7-fold and 25-fold increases in plasma and urinary Hcy-thiolactone levels, respectively. Thus, we conclude that hyperhomocysteinemia leads to significant increases in the atherogenic metabolite Hcy-thiolactone in humans and mice.
The FASEB Journal 07/2007; 21(8):1707-13. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) deficiency is an inborn error of metabolism that is biochemically characterized by severe hyperhomocysteinemia and homocystinuria. In tissues of mice deficient for CBS it has been demonstrated that global DNA methylation and DNA methylation of the H19 differentially methylated region (DMR) were impaired. In this study we aimed to investigate whether DNA methylation is disturbed in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia due to CBS-deficiency.
Genomic DNA was isolated from heparin blood from nine CBS deficient patients that were treated with homomcysteine-lowering therapy and eight healthy controls. Global DNA methylation was measured by liquid chromatography-electrospay ionization-tandem mass spectrometry and gene-specific DNA methylation of the H19 DMR was determined by bisulphite-sequencing.
Homocysteine, AdoMet and AdoHcy levels were significantly elevated, whereas no differences in AdoMet:AdoHcy ratio were observed in plasma of treated CBS deficient patients compared with controls. Global DNA methylation and gene-specific DNA methylation of the H19 DMR was not different between CBS deficient patients and controls.
We demonstrate that DNA methylation is not impaired in treated CBS deficient patients. Further studies are necessary to investigate the precise role of homocysteine-lowering therapy in relation to DNA methylation in patients with homocystinuria.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 06/2007; 91(1):55-60. · 2.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for the c.833T>C transition (p.I278 T) in the cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) gene represents the most common cause of pyridoxine-responsive homocystinuria in Western Eurasians. However, the frequency of the pathogenic c.833C allele, as observed in healthy newborns from several European countries (q(c.833C) approximately equals 3.3 x 10(-3)), is approximately 20-fold higher than expected on the basis of the observed number of symptomatic homocystinuria patients carrying this mutation (q(c.833C) approximately equals 0.18 x 10(-3)), implying clinical underascertainment. Intriguingly, the c.833C mutation is also present in combination with a 68-bp insertion, c.[833C; 844_845ins68], in a substantial proportion of chromosomes from nonhomocystinuric individuals worldwide. We have sought to study the relationship between the pathogenic and nonpathogenic c.833C-bearing chromosomes and to determine whether the pathogenic c.[833C; -] chromosomes are identical-by-descent or instead arose by recurrent mutation. Initial haplotype analysis of 780 randomly selected Czech and sub-Saharan African wild-type chromosomes, employing 12 intragenic markers, revealed 29 distinct CBS haplotypes, of which 10 carried the c.[833C; 844_845ins68] combination; none carried an isolated c.833C or c.844_845ins68 mutation. Subsequent examination of 69 pathogenic c.[833C; -] chromosomes, derived from homocystinuria patients of predominantly European origin, disclosed three unrelated haplotypes that differed from their wild-type counterparts by virtue of the presence of c.833C, thereby indicating that c.833T>C transition has occurred repeatedly and independently in the past. Since c.833T does not reside within an obvious mutational hotspot, we surmise that the three pathogenic and comparatively prevalent c.[833C; -] chromosomes may have originated by recurrent gene conversion employing the common nonpathogenic c.[833C; 844_845ins68] chromosomes as templates.
Human Mutation 03/2007; 28(3):255-64. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In women with Marfan syndrome pregnancy presents an increased risk of dilatation, dissection, and rupture of the aorta. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of pregnancy on growth of the aortic root.
Between 1993 and 2004 127 women with Marfan syndrome were prospectively followed; 61 women had one or more children; in 23 women, 33 pregnancies could be followed prospectively for aortic dimensions. Only one woman had suffered an aortic complication, a type A dissection (limited to the ascending aorta), before pregnancy. Out of 66 childless women a comparison group of 22 women was selected and individually matched. Mean initial aortic root diameter just before pregnancy was 37+/-5 mm (range 25-45). Before, during, and after pregnancy the overall individual aortic root diameter change (in 31 pregnancies) was not significant (P=0.77). Only the woman with a previous type A dissection developed an aortic complication (type B dissection) during her second pregnancy. No cardiac complications occurred in the other 22 women during their pregnancies. During a median follow-up of 6.4 years, no significant difference in growth of the aortic root was observed between the pregnancy group and the matched childless group (0.28 vs. 0.19 mm/year, P=0.08, respectively).
Pregnancy in women with Marfan syndrome seems to be relatively safe up to an aortic root diameter of 45 mm, at least as far as our observed diameter range of 25-45 mm is concerned.
European Heart Journal 06/2005; 26(9):914-20. · 14.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homocystinuria is an inborn error of methionine metabolism that results in raised serum levels of the highly reactive thiol-containing amino acid homocysteine. Homocystinurics often exhibit phenotypic abnormalities that are similar to those found in Marfan syndrome (MFS), a heritable connective tissue disorder that is caused by reduced levels of, or defects in, the cysteine-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) protein fibrillin-1. The phenotypic similarities between homocystinuria and MFS suggest that elevated homocysteine levels may result in an altered function of fibrillin-1. We have used recombinant calcium binding epidermal growth factor-like (cbEGF) domain fragments from fibrillin-1, and an unrelated protein Notch1, to analyse the effects of homocysteine on the native disulphide (cystine) bonds of these domains. We show using analytical reverse phase, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and limited proteolysis that homocysteine attacks intramolecular disulphide bonds causing reduction of cystine and domain misfolding, and that the effects of homocysteine are dependent on its concentration. We also identify the importance of calcium binding to cbEGF domains for their stabilisation and protection against homocysteine attack. Collectively, these data suggest that reduction of intramolecular cbEGF domain disulphide bonds by homocysteine and the resulting disruption of this domain fold may contribute to the change in connective tissue function seen in homocystinuria. Furthermore, since we show that the effects of homocysteine are not unique to fibrillin-1, other cbEGF-containing proteins may be implicated in the pathogenic mechanisms underlying homocystinuria.
Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2005; 346(3):833-44. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this review we discuss the hypothesis, and current evidence, that a decreased concentration of the endogenous purine-nucleoside adenosine contributes to the increased cardiovascular risk of patients with hyperhomocysteinemia. In hyperhomocysteinemia, the reaction equilibrium of the reaction catalysed by S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase will shift towards synthesis of S-adenosylhomocysteine, at the expense of free adenosine. Adenosine receptor stimulation induces several cardiovascular protective effects, such as vasodilation, inhibition of thrombocyte aggregation, of inflammation and of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation. A decreased adenosine concentration could, therefore, well contribute to the cardiovascular complications of hyperhomocysteinemia. Previous animal studies have shown that administration of homocysteine decreases extracellular adenosine, associated with increased synthesis of S-adenosylhomocysteine. Recently, we showed that in patients with classical homocystinuria, cellular adenosine uptake is enhanced, thus limiting adenosine-induced vasodilation. These observations provide us with additional pharmacological targets, such as adenosine uptake inhibition, to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia.
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 02/2005; 43(10):1001-6. · 3.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endogenous adenosine has several cardioprotective effects. We postulate that in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia increased intracellular formation of S-adenosylhomocysteine decreases free intracellular adenosine. Subsequently, facilitated diffusion of extracellular adenosine into cells through dipyridamole-sensitive transporters is enhanced, limiting adenosine receptor stimulation. We tested this hypothesis in patients with classical homocystinuria (n=9, plasma homocysteine 93.1+/-24.7 micromol/L) and matched controls (n=8, homocysteine 9.1+/-1.0).
Infusion of adenosine (0.5, 1.5, 5.0, and 15.0 microg/min/dL forearm) into the brachial artery increased forearm blood flow, as measured with venous occlusion plethysmography, to 2.9+/-0.4, 4.3+/-0.5, 5.6+/-1.1, and 9.6+/-2.1 in the patients and to 2.8+/-0.6, 4.4+/-1.0, 9.0+/-1.7, and 17.0+/-3.1 mL/min/dL in controls (P<0.05). However, adenosine-induced vasodilation in the presence of dipyridamole (100 microg/min/dL) was similar in both groups (P=0.9). Additionally, in isolated erythrocytes, adenosine uptake was accelerated by incubation with homocysteine (half-time 6.4+/-0.3 versus 8.1+/-0.5 minutes, P<0.001) associated with increased intracellular formation of S-adenosylhomocysteine (P<0.0001).
In hyperhomocysteinemia, adenosine-induced vasodilation is impaired but is restored by dipyridamole. Accelerated cellular adenosine uptake probably accounts for these observations. These impaired actions of adenosine could well contribute to the cardiovascular complications of hyperhomocysteinemia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is a regulating enzyme in folate-dependant homocysteine remethylation, because it catalyses the reduction of 5,10 methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). 2. Subjects homozygous for the 677C --> T mutation in the MTHFR enzyme suffer from an increased cardiovascular risk. It can be speculated that the direct administration of 5-MTHF instead of folic acid can facilitate the remethylation of homocysteine in methionine. 3. The aim of this study was to determine the pharmacokinetic properties of orally administered 6[R,S] 5-MTHF versus folic acid in cardiovascular patients with homozygosity for 677C --> T MTHFR. 4. This is an open-controlled, two-way, two-period randomised crossover study. Patients received a single oral dose of either 5 mg folic acid or 5 mg 5-MTHF in each period. The concentrations of the 6[S] 5-MTHF and 6[R] 5-MTHF diastereoisomers were determined in venous blood samples. 5. All pharmacokinetic parameters demonstrate that the bioavailability of 5-MTHF is higher compared to folic acid. The peak concentration of both isomers following the administration of 6[R,S] 5-MTHF is almost seven times higher compared to folic acid, irrespective of the patient's genotype. However, at 1 week after the administration of a single dosage 6[R,S] 5-MTHF, we detected 6[R] 5-MTHF following the administration of folic acid, indicating storage of this isomer in the body. 6. Our results demonstrate that oral 5-MTHF has a different pharmacokinetic profile with a higher bioavailability compared to folic acid, irrespective of the patient's genotype. Detrimental effects of the storage of high levels of the non-natural isomer 6[R] 5-MTHF cannot be excluded.
British Journal of Pharmacology 04/2004; 141(5):825-30. · 5.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Most previous investigations focused on the role of homocysteine as direct pathogenetic factor for these adverse vascular events. However, the exact pathophysiological mechanism is still unknown. In this review we discuss the hypothesis that a decreased extracellular concentration of adenosine could contribute to the adverse cardiovascular effects of hyperhomocysteinemia. Fundamental to this hypothesis is that, in vivo, any increase in the plasma concentration of homocysteine reflects an increased intracellular homocysteine concentration, which inevitably will result in a decrease in the adenosine concentration. In this situation, the hydrolase reaction catalysed by S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase will reverse and S-adenosylhomocysteine will accumulate at the expense of adenosine. Stimulation of adenosine receptors by adenosine results in various cardio- and vasoprotective actions, like modulation of vascular resistance, presynaptic inhibition of norepinephrine release, ischaemic preconditioning, inhibition of platelet aggregation, modulation of inflammation and regulation of vascular cell proliferation and death. In this respect, a decrease in the adenosine concentration could contribute significantly to the cardiovascular effects of hyperhomocysteinemia.
Cardiovascular Research 09/2003; 59(2):271-6. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperhomocysteinaemia is generally accepted as an independent and graded risk factor for both arterial occlusive disease and venous thrombosis. The only way of homocysteine degradation is conversion to cysteine in the transsulfuration pathway in which the regulating step is catalysed by cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS). Mild impairment of CBS function could therefore affect homocysteine concentration, in particular after methionine loading, and consequently cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. We analysed two silent polymorphisms and one short tandem repeat in the CBS gene (ie 699C-->T, 1080C-->T and -5697 (GT) STR) as genetic markers potentially in linkage disequilibrium with a functional polymorphism. We assessed their association with fasting and post-methionine load homocysteine in 190 patients with arterial occlusive disease, and in 381 controls. No differences in CBS genotype frequencies between cases and controls were found, nor was a particular CBS genotype associated with an elevated risk of arterial occlusive disease. Although we did find a high rate of linkage disequilibrium between the two single nucleotide polymorphisms and the GT STR, none of the genotypes defined by the three CBS variants studied showed an association with elevated fasting, post-load or increase upon methionine loading homocysteine concentrations. In conclusion, we did not find any indication that genetic variation in the CBS gene is associated with increased homocysteine concentrations.
European Journal of HumanGenetics 01/2003; 11(1):23-9. · 4.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human cystathionine beta-synthase is a heme protein that catalyzes the condensation of serine and homocysteine to form cystathionine in a pyridoxal phosphate-dependent reaction. Mutations in this enzyme are the leading cause of hereditary hyperhomocysteinemia with attendant cardiovascular and other complications. The enzyme is activated approximately 2-fold by the allosteric regulator S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), which is presumed to bind to the C-terminal regulatory domain. The regulatory domain exerts an inhibitory effect on the enzyme, and its deletion is correlated with a 2-fold increase in catalytic activity and loss of responsiveness to AdoMet. A mutation in the C-terminal regulatory domain, D444N, displays high levels of enzyme activity, yet is pathogenic. In this study, we have characterized the biochemical penalties associated with this mutation and demonstrate that it is associated with a 4-fold lower steady-state level of cystathionine beta-synthase in a fibroblast cell line that is homozygous for the D444N mutation. The activity of the recombinant D444N enzyme mimics the activity of the wild-type enzyme seen in the presence of AdoMet and can be further activated approximately 2-fold in the presence of supraphysiolgical concentrations of the allosteric regulator. The mutation increases the K(act) for AdoMet from 7.4 +/- 0.2 to 460 +/- 130 microM, thus rendering the enzyme functionally unresponsive to AdoMet under physiological concentrations. These results indicate that the D444N mutation partially abrogates the intrasteric inhibition imposed by the C-terminal domain. We propose a model that takes into account the three kinetically distinguishable states that are observed with human cystathionine beta-synthase: "basal" (i.e., wild-type enzyme as isolated), "activated" (wild-type enzyme + AdoMet or the D444N mutant as isolated), and superactivated (D444N mutant + AdoMet or wild-type enzyme lacking the C-terminal regulatory domain).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elevated levels of total homocysteine and low folate in blood are independent and graded risk factors for arterial occlusive disease. An impairment of folate distribution can be an important cause of hyperhomocysteinemia. Glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII) regulates the absorption of dietary folates. In the present study, we examined the relationship of a 1561C-->T variant in the GCPII gene with fasting, post-methionine load plasma homocysteine, folate and vitamin B(12) levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 190 vascular disease patients and in 601 apparently healthy controls. Fasting as well as post-load homocysteine concentrations associated with the 1561TT genotype tended to be lower, whereas the homocysteine concentrations of the 1561CT individuals were not different from their 1561CC peers. The 1561C-->T polymorphism significantly increased both red blood cell folate and plasma folate concentrations (ANOVA P=0.013; test for linear trend P=0.03, respectively), but had no effect on vitamin B(12) levels (ANOVA P=0.35). Since not only homocysteine itself is considered to be positively associated with the risk of CVD, but also a decreased folate status, the results of this study indicate that the 1561C-->T polymorphism may affect the predisposition to CVD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Intracellular vitamin B(12) deficiency may lead to increased plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations and because transcobalamin (TC) is the plasma transporter that delivers vitamin B(12) to cells, genetic variation in the TC gene may affect intracellular vitamin B(12) availability and, consequently, tHcy concentrations.
We examined five sequence variants, i.e., I23V, G94S, P259R, S348F, and R399Q, in the TC gene as possible determinants of tHcy and, concordantly, as possible risk factors for CVD in 190 vascular disease patients and 601 controls. We also studied potential effect-modification of vitamin B(12) by genotype.
In individuals with high vitamin B(12), 259PP individuals had lower tHcy concentrations than 259PR and 259RR individuals. Homozygous 23VV individuals had lower fasting tHcy concentrations than their 23IV and 23II peers. None of the genotypes defined by the three other sequence variants showed an association with tHcy concentrations, nor was any TC genotype associated with an increased CVD risk.
In individuals in the highest quartile of the vitamin B(12) distribution (>299 pmol/L), tHcy concentrations are lower in 259PP homozygotes than in 259PR and 259RR individuals. Therefore, 259PP individuals, who represent >25% of the general population, may be more susceptible to reduction of plasma tHcy concentrations by increasing the vitamin B(12) status.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the effect of therapy with folic acid and cobalamin on coronary endothelial function, expressed as a change in volumetric coronary blood flow (CBF), in hyperhomocysteinemic patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for CAD. The mechanism responsible for this increased risk is unclear, but it is generally assumed that hyperhomocysteinemia causes endothelial dysfunction. It is unknown whether lowering plasma homocysteine levels with folic acid and cobalamin improves coronary endothelial function in patients with hyperhomocysteinemia and symptomatic CAD.
Fifteen patients scheduled for elective percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) with plasma homocysteine levels of >or=16 micromol/l were randomized for six months of treatment with folic acid 5 mg and cobalamin 400 microg daily or placebo. Coronary endothelial function was evaluated in a non-PTCA vessel using acetylcholine infusion in dosages of 10(-8) M, 10(-7) M, and 10(-6) M. Endothelium- dependent CBF is determined using intracoronary Doppler velocity and quantitative coronary angiography at baseline and after six months.
In the folic acid/cobalamin treated group, CBF increased after acetylcholine infusion with 96% (standard deviation 54; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 44% to 154%) compared with a decrease of 16% (standard deviation 35; 95% CI: -20% to +30%) of the CBF in the placebo-treated group (p < 0.005).
This is the first prospective randomized placebo-controlled intervention study evaluating coronary endothelial function in hyperhomocysteinemic patients with CAD. Our results suggest that coronary endothelial function improves after treatment with folic acid and cobalamin.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 08/2002; 40(4):766-72. · 14.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study (i) the influence of methotrexate (MTX) therapy on homocysteine and folate metabolism in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), (ii) the influence of the C677T mutation in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) on the change in plasma homocysteine levels during MTX treatment, and (iii) the interference of folate and homocysteine metabolism with the efficacy and toxicity of treatment with MTX.
The 113 patients enrolled in this study were participating in a 48-week, multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing the efficacy and toxicity of MTX treatment with and without folic or folinic acid supplementation. The MTX dose was 7.5 mg/week initially and increased to a maximum of 25 mg/week if necessary. Concentrations of total folate, 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate (in serum and in erythrocytes) and of homocysteine, cysteine and cysteine-glycine and the MTHFR genotype were determined before the start of the study, after 6 weeks, and after 48 weeks or on withdrawal from the study. Blood was drawn from fasting patients at a standardized time in the morning, 16 h after intake of MTX. The laboratory results were related to parameters of efficacy and toxicity of MTX treatment.
Baseline values were distributed equally in the three treatment groups. The mean plasma homocysteine level (normal range 6-15 micromol/l) before the start of MTX was relatively high in all groups: 15.4 micromol/l [95% confidence interval (CI) 13.5 to 17.2] in the MTX plus placebo group (n=39), 14.3 micromol/l (95% CI 12.2 to 16.4) in the MTX plus folic acid group (n=35) and 15.9 micromol/l (95% CI 13.7 to 18.1) in the MTX plus folinic acid group (n=39). After 48 weeks of MTX therapy, the mean homocysteine level showed an increase in the placebo group (+3.6 micromol/l, 95% CI 1.7 to 5.6). In contrast, a decrease was observed in the groups supplemented with folic or folinic acid (folic acid, -2.7 micromol/l, 95% CI -1.4 to -4.0; folinic acid, -1.6 micromol/l, 95% CI -0.1 to -3.0). The differences in the change in plasma homocysteine level between the placebo group and each of the two folate-supplemented groups were statistically significant (P<0.0001), contrary to the difference between the folic and folinic acid groups (P=0.26). Linear regression analysis showed that the change in plasma homocysteine level was statistically significantly associated with folic or folinic acid supplementation (P=0.0001) but not with the presence or absence of the C677T mutation in the MTHFR gene. Homozygous mutants had a higher plasma homocysteine concentration at baseline. No relationship was found between the change in disease activity and the change in homocysteine concentration or the mean homocysteine concentration after 48 weeks of MTX therapy. Toxicity-related discontinuation of MTX treatment was not associated with the change in homocysteine concentration.
Low-dose MTX treatment in RA patients leads to an increased plasma homocysteine level. Concomitant folate supplementation with either folic or folinic acid decreases the plasma homocysteine level and consequently protects against potential cardiovascular risks. No relationship was found between the change in homocysteine concentration and the presence or absence of the C677T mutation in the MTHFR gene. Homocysteine metabolism was not associated with efficacy or toxicity of MTX treatment.