Homocysteine, iron and cardiovascular disease: A hypothesis

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Elevated circulating total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations (hyperhomocysteinemia) have been regarded as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, several large clinical trials to correct hyperhomocysteinemia using B-vitamin supplements (particularly folic acid) have largely failed to reduce the risk of CVD. There is no doubt that a large segment of patients with CVD have hyperhomocysteinemia; therefore, it is reasonable to postulate that circulating tHcy concentrations are in part a surrogate marker for another, yet-to-be-identified risk factor(s) for CVD. We found that iron catalyzes the formation of Hcy from methionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine and cystathionine. Based on these findings, we propose that an elevated amount of non-protein-bound iron (free Fe) increases circulating tHcy. Free Fe catalyzes the formation of oxygen free radicals, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein is a well-established risk factor for vascular damage. In this review, we discuss our findings on iron-catalyzed formation of Hcy from thioethers as well as recent findings by other investigators on this issue. Collectively, these support our hypothesis that circulating tHcy is in part a surrogate marker for free Fe, which is one of the independent risk factors for CVD.
  • Published In

  • Nutrients  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Baggott JE; Tamura T
  • Start Page

  • 1108
  • End Page

  • 1118
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 2