Compr Physiol 2015 Dec 15;6(1):471-505. Epub 2015 Dec 15.
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service, West Roxbury, VA Boston Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The importance of homocysteine in vascular function and arteriosclerosis was discovered by demonstration of arteriosclerotic plaques in children with homocystinuria caused by inherited enzymatic deficiencies of cystathionine synthase, methionine synthase, or methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase. According to the homocysteine theory of arteriosclerosis, an elevated blood homocysteine level is an important risk factor for atherosclerosis in subjects without these rare enzymatic abnormalities. The homocysteine theory is supported by demonstration of arterial plaques in experimental animals with hyperhomocysteinemia, by discovery of a pathway for conversion of homocysteine thiolactone to sulfate in cell cultures from children with homocystinuria, and by demonstration of growth promotion by homocysteic acid in normal and hypophysectomized animals. Read More