Background: Hyperhomocysteinaemia is an independent cardiovascular risk factor which can induce vascular lesions, thus contributing to the early development of atherosclerosis. Low-dose folic acid supplementation reduces the pretreatment homocysteine plasma levels by 25-35%. Recent studies report that higher intravenous or oral administration of the active form of folic acid reduces the homocysteine plasma concentration by nearly 70%. The reduction could also be influenced by the thermolabile variant of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (tMTHFR) and by the dialysis modality. Methods: A cross-sectional clinical study was performed to evaluate the effect of a drug containing folinic acid and vitamin B12 on the plasma homocysteine concentration and whether this variable could also be influenced by the presence of a genetic variant of the methionine pathway and the use of different dialysis modalities. The plasma homocysteine concentration was measured in 55 patients undergoing haemodialysis, 27 of whom have been treated intravenously for megaloblastic anaemia using a drug containing low concentrations of folinic acid and vitamin B12 at the end of each dialysis session for 6 months. The presence of tMTHFR was sought by molecular analysis, and the role of the dialysis modality was also investigated. Results: The patients given the folic acid treatment had lower homocysteine plasma levels than those not so treated. The plasma homocysteine concentration was significantly higher in the tMRHFR homozygotes than in the patients with a normal genotype, significantly lower in the treated than in the untreated homozygotes, and significantly higher in the untreated homozygotes than in the untreated subgroup with a normal genotype. The homocysteine level was also significantly lower in the patients who underwent convective haemodialysis than in those who received standard bicarbonate dialysis. Conclusions: A drug containing low concentrations of folinic acid combined with vitamin B12 using an intermittent intravenous regimen is effective in reducing the homocysteine plasma concentration in uraemic patients. The homocysteine levels seem also to depend on genotype and dialysis modality.
- Erythrocyte folate
- Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
ASJC Scopus subject areas