Homocysteine and Peripheral Arterial Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
To evaluate homocysteine (Hcy) levels in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) as compared to unaffected controls, and to review the clinical effects of therapy aimed at lowering homocysteine in PAD patients.
MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched from 1950 to December 2007. We selected observational studies and trials that evaluated Hcy levels in patients with PAD compared to unaffected controls. We also included trials on the effect of Hcy-lowering therapy (folate supplementation) in PAD patients. Continuous outcomes were pooled in a random effects meta-analysis of the weighted mean difference between comparator groups.
We retrieved 33 potentially suitable articles from our search. Meta-analysis of 14 relevant studies showed that Hcy was significantly elevated (pooled mean difference +4.31micromoll; 95% C.I. 1.71, 6.31, p<0.0001 with significant heterogeneity) in patients with PAD compared to controls. As all 14 studies consistently demonstrated raised plasma Hcy levels in PAD patients, the significant heterogeneity in this meta-analysis probably arises from differences in the degree of Hcy elevation. The effect of folate supplementation on PAD was tested in eight clinical trials but clinically important end points were inconsistently reported.
Patients with PAD have significantly higher Hcy levels than unaffected controls. However, we did not find any robust evidence on clinically beneficial effects of folate supplementation in PAD.
Available from: Mohammad Faisal Malmstrom
- "Hyperhomocysteinemia is a consequence of vitamin B12 deficiency, because vitamin B12 is required as a cofactor for the enzyme MTHFR, which remethylates homocysteine to form methionine . Hyperhomocysteinemia has been well-documented to increase the risk of arterial thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction , stroke  and peripheral arterial disease . Data concerning venous thrombosis also point to an increased risk for hyperhomocysteinemia [3,7-9]. "
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Acute portomesenteric vein thrombosis is an uncommon but serious condition with potential sequelae, such as small-bowel gangrene and end-stage hepatic failure. It is known to be caused by various pro-thrombotic states, including hyperhomocysteinemia. We describe what is, to the best of our knowledge, the first reported case of concomitant thrombosis of portal, superior mesenteric and splenic veins due to hyperhomocysteinemia secondary to pernicious anemia and no other risk factors.
A 60-year-old Indian man presented with epigastric pain, diarrhea and vomiting. An abdominal imaging scan showed that he had concomitant pernicious anemia and concomitant portal, superior mesenteric and splenic vein thrombosis. A work-up for the patient’s hypercoagulable state revealed hyperhomocysteinemia, an undetectable vitamin B12 level and pernicious anemia with no other thrombophilic state. He developed infarction with perforation of the small bowel and subsequent septic shock with multi-organ dysfunction syndrome, and he ultimately died due to progressive hepatic failure.
This report demonstrates that pernicious anemia, on its own, can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia significant enough to lead to lethal multiple splanchnic vein thrombosis. Our case also underscores the need to (1) consider portomesenteric thrombosis in the differential diagnosis of epigastric abdominal pain, (2) perform a complete thrombotic work-up to elucidate metabolic abnormalities that could be contributing to a pro-thrombotic state and (3) initiate aggressive measures, including early consideration of multi-visceral transplantation, in order to avoid decompensation and a significant adverse outcome.
Available from: PubMed Central
- "Progressive disorders of the large and small vessels are common and serious complications of diabetes mellitus (DM). Studies over the last two decades have shown that hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with several macrovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, and deep-vein thrombosis [1–3]. "
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ABSTRACT: We investigated the association of serum homocysteine levels and vitamin status with type 2 diabetic retinopathy. This study included 65 patients with and 75 patients without diabetic retinopathy. Patients with diabetic retinopathy had significantly higher serum homocysteine levels (P < 0.001), higher prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia (P < 0.001), lower serum folic acid (P < 0.001), and vitamin B12 (P = 0.014) levels than those without diabetic retinopathy. Regression analysis revealed that homocysteine was an independent risk factor for diabetic retinopathy and there was a threshold in its serum level (13.7 μ mol/L), above which the risk of diabetic retinopathy greatly increases (OR = 1.66, P = 0.001). Folic acid was associated with decreased odds for diabetic retinopathy (OR = 0.73, P < 0.001). There was a threshold in serum vitamin B12 level (248.4 pg/mL), below which serum homocysteine concentration significantly increases with decreasing serum vitamin B12 (P = 0.003). Our findings suggest that hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy. Decreased serum levels of folic acid and vitamin B12, through raising serum homocysteine concentrations, may also affect the diabetic retinopathy risk.
Available from: Giuseppe Lippi
- "Homocysteine may also have a role in the pathogenesis of peripheral occlusive artery disease. Khandanpour et al carried out an electronic search to identify observational studies that reported homocysteine levels in patients with peripheral occlusive artery disease compared to unaffected controls . The following meta-analysis of 14 relevant trials including 2291 cases and 6525 controls showed that an increase of 4.3 μmol/L of plasma homocysteine was associated with a RR of 4.31 (95% CI, 1.71– 6.91) for peripheral occlusive artery disease. "
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ABSTRACT: Recent evidence suggests that migraine is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders, so that it is increasingly hypothesized that this primary form of headache my be linked to thrombotic diseases by some biological pathways and risk factors. Homocysteine, a sulfur-containing molecule, is now recognized as an independent risk factor for a variety of thrombotic disorders, especially ischemic heart disease and stroke. This article is hence aimed to provide an overview of epidemiological evidence about the association between homocysteine and migraine published in cross-sectional, prospective or interventional studies. Overall, the evidence gathered from cross-sectional studies that measured plasma homocysteine levels suggests that the epidemiological link between the plasma concentration of this biomarker and migraine is very weak, at best. Contradictory evidence emerged from interventional studies, in which treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia with folic acid or vitamin B supplementation was effective to lower plasma homocysteine and decrease frequency and/or severity of migraine. The association remains largely speculative, however, since it could not be clearly demonstrated that these two biological effects were directly linked. The only study that has assessed homocysteine in cerebrospinal fluid reported that the concentration of this biomarker in migraine patients was significantly increased compared to controls. Although this evidence must be obviously confirmed in larger trials, some putative mechanisms may support a causal link between increased generation of homocysteine in the brain environment and migraine.
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