Homocysteinylation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) from subjects with Type 1 diabetes: Effect on oxidative damage of human endothelial cells

G. Ferretti, T. Bacchetti, R. A. Rabini, A. Vignini, L. Nanetti, C. Moroni, L. Mazzanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Homocysteine (Hcy) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Individuals with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to the effects of homocysteine than non-diabetic subjects. The interaction between homocysteine-thiolactone (Hcy-thiolactone), a reactive product of Hcy, and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) induces the formation of homocystamide-LDL adducts (Hcy-LDL) and it has been suggested that homocysteinylation could increase atherogenicity of lipoproteins. Aim: The aim of the study was to compare the effect of in vitro homocysteinylation of LDL isolated from healthy control subjects (C-LDL) and from Type 1 diabetic patients (DM-LDL) and to investigate the effect of homocysteinylated LDL (Hcy-C-LDL and Hcy-DM-LDL) on peroxynitrite production of endothelial cells. Methods: The in vitro homocysteinylation of LDL isolated from control (n = 12) and DM subjects (n = 12) was carried out by incubating lipoproteins with Hcy-thiolactone. The reaction was verified by quanitifying the increase in sulphydryl groups (-SH groups) in Hcy-LDL with respect to control LDL. Control and homocysteinylated LDL were incubated with human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) in culture. Peroxynitrite production in cells treated in different experimental conditions was assayed by a fluorimetric method. Results: The increase in -SH groups after incubation with homocysteine was greater in LDL from diabetic subjects compared with LDL from control subjects (P <0.001). In addition, peroxynitrite production from HAEC incubated with Hcy-LDL from diabetic patients was greater than after incubation with Hcy-LDL from control subjects and untreated LDL from diabetic patients (P <0.001). Conclusions: These results show that LDL from diabetic patients is more susceptible to in vitro homocysteinylation than LDL from non-diabetic individuals and demonstrate that the compositional changes in Hcy-LDL from diabetic subjects have cytotoxic effects on human endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-813
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Homocysteine
  • Low-density lipoproteins
  • Oxidative damage
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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