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      The Plasma Levels of Homocysteine Are Elevated in Moderate Renal Insufficiency but Do Not Predict the Rate of Progression

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          Background: Chronic renal failure is characterized by specific alterations of the lipoprotein metabolism. It is also characterized by elevated plasma levels of total homocysteine (tHcy). Hyperhomocysteinemia has been shown to be a risk factor for atherosclerosis in both the general population and in patients with end-stage renal disease. Aim: To analyze whether elevated tHcy levels also may contribute to a higher rate of progression of renal insufficiency in patients with moderately advanced renal failure. Methods: To investigate whether tHcy concentrations are associated with an accelerated rate of progression of renal insufficiency, we have correlated baseline plasma concentrations of tHcy with the progressive decline of renal function in an observational study of human chronic renal disease. Results: Sixty-three nondiabetic patients (49 men, 14 women) were studied as part of an observational study of patients with moderately advanced renal insufficiency. The average follow-up time of the patient population was 3.0 years, and the mean rate of decline in glomerular filtration rate (<sup>51</sup>Cr- EDTA clearance) was –3.2 ± (SD) 3.9 ml/min × 1.73 m<sup>2</sup> body surface area. The mean plasma concentration of tHcy at the beginning of the study was 28.3 ± 12.0 µmol/l. Plasma tHcy concentrations correlated significantly with the glomerular filtration rate (r = –0.32, p < 0.01). However, there was no association between the initial plasma level of tHcy and the rate of progression as assessed by linear regression analysis (r = 0.02; NS). In contrast, increased levels of apolipoprotein B, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and proteinuria were all significantly associated with a more rapid decline in renal function. Conclusions: Patients with moderately advanced chronic renal insufficiency have elevated plasma levels of homocysteine. The tHcy plasma levels increase in parallel with the degree of reduction in renal function. However, the hyperhomocysteinemia is not prospectively associated with a higher rate of progression of the renal functional impairment. Hence, there is no indication that elevated homocysteine levels play a contributing role for an accelerated glomerulosclerotic process.

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          Prospective study of serum total homocysteine concentration and risk of stroke in middle-aged British men

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            Homocyst(e)ine and coronary artery disease. Clinical evidence and genetic and metabolic background.

            Many studies have demonstrated a strong association between elevated plasma total homocyst(e)ine levels and vascular diseases. Consequently, hyperhomocyst(e)inemia is now generally accepted as an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. We critically reviewed the results of 35 human studies in which the levels of plasma total homocysteine were measured in patients with atherosclerotic diseases (n = 4338) and in controls (n = 22,593). Total homocysteine levels were consistently higher in patients than in controls. The average of this increment among 23 case-control studies was 26%. New insights into the biochemical pathways of total homocysteine metabolism, the factors that influence total homocysteine levels, genetic contributions to hyperhomocyst(e)inemia, the pathogenesis of homocyst(e)ine-induced vascular damage, and current recommendations for treatment of hyperhomocyst(e)inemia were also reviewed. Various lines of evidence now link hyperhomocyst(e)inemia with vascular diseases. Although there are no data from double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of treatment for hyperhomocyst(e)inemia, the strong epidemiologic and experimental evidence argues for treatment of hyperhomocyst(e)inemia; in fact, its treatment with low doses of vitamins is thought to be safe and is inexpensive.
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              Chronic renal failure: pathophysiology


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                August 1999
                04 August 1999
                : 82
                : 4
                : 306-311
                aDepartment of Nephrology, University of Göteborg, Sweden; bDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, cLipid and Lipoprotein Laboratory, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and dVascular Disease Intervention and Research Laboratory LLC, Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Okla., USA
                45445 Nephron 1999;82:306–311
                © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 36, Pages: 6
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