Objectives: To determine whether homocysteine (Hcy) plasma levels are correlated with molecules indicative of endothelial cell and fibroblast activation, including endothelin-1 (ET-1) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and -3 (MCP-1, MCP-3), in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Methods: Eighty-two patients were enrolled in this study; the control group included 75 age- and sex-matched subjects. Plasma Hcy was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography; folic acid, and vitamin B12 plasma levels were determined by a chemiluminescence method. ET-1, MCP-1, and MCP-3 were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Analysis of the 677C→T mutation in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene was performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and digestion with the enzyme HinfI. Results: Hcy levels were lower in patients whereas ET-1 was significantly higher in patients and correlated with MCP-1. Stratification of the patients on the basis of Hcy levels was not associated with any statistical difference in the concentration of ET-1, MCP-1, and MCP-3. Patients with diffuse disease presented the highest levels of ET-1 and MCP-1. The distribution of the MTHFR genotypes was not different in patients and controls. Conclusions: In SSc, Hcy plasma concentration does not influence ET-1, MCP-1, or MCP-3 levels. On the contrary, ET-1, a marker of vascular activation, correlates with MCP-1, a chemokine involved in the fibrotic process of SSc.
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