Elevated homocysteine is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, coronary artery disease, chronic heart failure and cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular disease. Its involvement in these conditions may be related to its prothrombotic properties, proliferative effect on smooth muscle cells and pro-oxidant activity.
Homocysteine, a sulphur-containing amino acid is an intermediate product in the normal biosynthesis of the amino acids methionine and cysteine. Homocysteine is predominantly metabolised via two pathways. The enzyme MTHFR converts homocysteine to methionine. The MTHFR is strongly dependent on cofactors folate and vitamin B12.
In addition, homocysteine can increase coagulability, cause endothelial dysfunction, induce the production of inflammatory factors and accelerate atherosclerosis in animal models. High levels are also associated with stroke, cognitive deficit, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, bone fracture, osteoporosis and depression. The role of homocysteine in these disorders may also be related to its pro-oxidant activity, the induction of pro-inflammatory factors and its negative affects on blood vessels.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive deficit