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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2002 September;27(3):141-56

language: English

Hormones and homocysteine

Asnani S., Desouza C., Homan J., Murthy S. N., McNamara D. B., Fonseca V.


Hyperhomocysteinemia is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Various factors, both modifiable and non-modifiable, interact with the homocysteine metabolism and determine the plasma homocysteine concentrations. These include genetic abnormalities, age, sex and various nutritional and hormonal determinants, all of which play a role in atherosclerosis and accelerated peripheral and cardio-vascular disease (CVD). Several hormones modulate homocysteine metabolism and hence may play a role in the pathogenesis of CVD. The mechanisms involved are unclear. The association of hyperhomocysteinemia with diabetes mellitus is complex and may explain some of the risk of CVD in diabetics not explained by traditional risk factors. Much conflicting data exists in the literature on the role of insulin on homocysteine metabolism, although insulin affects the enzymes regulating the homocysteine metabolism. Treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia with vitamins lowers plasma homocysteine concentrations. Little data is available on the effect of this intervention on cardiovascular outcomes. This review briefly outlines the homocysteine metabolism, summarizes its hormonal determinants, and discusses the role of hyperhomocysteinemia in diabetes, hyperlipidemia and other endocrine disorders.

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