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      Homocysteinemia Correlates with Plasma Thiol Redox Status in Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease

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          Background/Aims: In end-stage renal disease (ESRD), hyperhomocysteinemia is a common finding associated with increased cardiovascular risk. However, the pathogenic role of homocysteine is still unclear. In vitro studies show that thiol redox status affects endothelial cell functions. We therefore investigated the possible association between homocysteinemia and plasma thiol redox status in ESRD patients. Methods: Total plasma homocysteine (Hcy), cysteine (Cys) and free thiols (SH) were measured both before and after a dialytic session in 54 ESRD patients receiving (n = 15) or not receiving (n = 39) folate supplementation, and 17 control subjects. Results: High predialysis levels of both Hcy and Cys were found to be negatively correlated with low SH levels both in supplemented (r = –0.680, p < 0.01 and r = –0.624, p < 0.02, respectively) and unsupplemented (r = –0.698, p < 0.001 and r = –0.445, p < 0.01, respectively) patients. Following dialysis, SH values returned to normal and the above correlations were no longer appreciable. Conclusion: A strong, folate therapy-insensitive association between homocysteinemia and plasma free thiol levels was found in ESRD patients. These results support a role for oxidative stress in ESRD-related hyperhomocysteinemia and suggest the plasma thiol redox status alteration as a possible pathogenic mechanism underlying the cardiovascular toxicity of hyperhomocysteinemia in these patients.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Folate treatment and unbalanced methylation and changes of allelic expression induced by hyperhomocysteinaemia in patients with uraemia.

          Hyperhomocysteinaemia occurs in several genetically determined and acquired disorders and is highly prevalent in patients with uraemia. In these disorders, homocysteine precursor S-adenosylhomocysteine, a powerful competitive inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methyltransferases, is increased, suggesting unbalanced methylation. We aimed to investigate whether DNA hypomethylation is present in patients with uraemia who also have hyperhomocysteinaemia and whether regulation of specific classes of genes, dependent on DNA methylation, is compromised. We selected men with hyperhomocysteinaemia and uraemia who were having standard haemodialysis treatment, and compared them with healthy male controls. We measured the homocysteine concentration from plasma samples and obtained DNA and RNA samples from peripheral mononuclear cells. DNA methylation was assessed by cytosine extension assay and by Southern blotting. Allelic expression of pseudoautosomal and imprinted genes was investigated by analysis of suitable restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Total DNA hypomethylation was higher in patients than in controls (z score -4.593, p=0.0006) and allelic expression was changed in both sex-linked and imprinted genes. The shift from monoallelic to biallelic expression was dependent on homocysteine concentrations. Folate therapy, a common method to reduce hyperhomocysteinaemia, restored DNA methylation to normal levels and corrected the patterns of gene expression. Our results suggest that hyperhomocysteinaemia affects epigenetic control of gene expression, which can be reverted by folate treatment. Our data support the hypothesis that the toxic action of homocysteine can be mediated by macromolecule hypomethylation.
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            Plasma protein thiol oxidation and carbonyl formation in chronic renal failure.

            Myeloperoxidase-catalyzed oxidative pathways have recently been identified as an important cause of oxidant stress in uremia and hemodialysis (HD), and can lead to plasma protein oxidation. We have examined patterns of plasma protein oxidation in vitro in response to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hypochlorous acid (HOCl). We measured thiol oxidation, amine oxidation, and carbonyl concentrations in patients on chronic maintenance HD compared with patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) and normal volunteers. We have also examined the effect of the dialysis procedure on plasma protein oxidation using biocompatible and bioincompatible membranes. Plasma proteins were assayed for the level of free thiol groups using spectrophotometry, protein-associated carbonyl groups by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and oxidation of free amine groups using a fluorescent spectrophotometer. In vitro experiments demonstrate HOCl oxidation of thiol groups and increased carbonyl formation. In vivo, there are significant differences in plasma-free thiol groups between normal volunteers (279 +/- 12 micromol/L), CRF patients (202 +/- 20 micromol/L, P = 0.005) and HD patients (178 +/- 18 micromol/L, P = 0.0001). There are also significant differences in plasma protein carbonyl groups between normal volunteers (0.76 +/- 0.51 micromol/L), CRF patients (13.73 +/- 4.45 micromol/L, P = 0.015), and HD patients (16.95 +/- 2.62 micromol/L, P = 0.0001). There are no significant differences in amine group oxidation. HD with both biocompatible and bioincompatible membranes restored plasma protein thiol groups to normal levels, while minimally affecting plasma protein carbonyl expression. First, both CRF and HD patients have increased plasma protein oxidation manifested by oxidation of thiol groups and formation of carbonyl groups. Second, HD with biocompatible and bioincompatible membranes restored plasma protein thiol groups to normal levels. Third, these experiments suggest that there is a dialyzable low molecular weight toxin found in uremia that is responsible for plasma protein oxidation.
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              Traditional and emerging cardiovascular and renal risk factors: an epidemiologic perspective.

               C Zoccali (2006)
              Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) represent an important segment of the population (7-10%) and, mostly because of the high risk of cardiovascular complications associated with renal insufficiency, detection and treatment of CKD is now a public health priority. Traditional risk factors can incite renal dysfunction and cardiovascular damage as well. As renal function deteriorates, non-traditional risk factors play an increasing role both in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) loss and cardiovascular damage. Secondary analyses of controlled clinical trials suggest that inflammation may be a modifiable risk factor both for cardiac ischemia and renal disease progression in patients with or at risk of coronary heart disease. Homocysteine predicts renal function loss in the general population and cardiovascular events in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), but evidence that this sulfur amino acid is directly implicated in the progression of renal disease and in the high cardiovascular mortality of uremic patients is still lacking. High sympathetic activity and raised plasma concentration of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) have been associated to reduced GFR in patients with CKD and to cardiovascular complications in those with ESRD but again we still lack clinical trials targeting these risk factors. Presently, the clinical management of CKD patients remains largely unsatisfactory because only a minority of these attain the treatment goals recommended by current guidelines. Thus, in addition to research into new and established risk factors, it is important that nephrologists make the best use of knowledge already available to optimize the follow-up of these patients.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Clin Pract
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                March 2008
                22 January 2008
                : 108
                : 2
                : c106-c112
                Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
                113527 Nephron Clin Pract 2008;108:c106
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 34, Pages: 1
                Original Paper


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