Background: The high prevalence of hyperhomocysteinaemia in uraemic patients is of interest because of the cardiovascular risk associated with increased plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentration. Treatment with folic acid lowers tHcy in haemodialysis patients, however, in most patients not to normohomocysteinaemic levels. With possible tHcy-lowering modifications in mind, we studied the influence of standard haemodialysis on tHcy.
Methods: In 56 folate-loaded haemodialysis patients, tHcy and parameters of dialysis adequacy were measured. In six patients, interdialytic curves of tHcy and serum creatinine concentrations were obtained and in five patients, the amount of homocysteine (Hcy) in dialysate was determined.
Results: tHcy (21.8+/-14.4 micromol/l) correlated significantly with Kt/V (r=0.32, P<0.05), total Kt/V (r=0.29, P<0.05), nPCR (r=0.30, P<0.05) and serum concentrations of albumin (r=0.28, P<0.05) and cobalamines (r=-0.27, P<0.05). In a multiple linear regression analysis, only serum albumin concentrations significantly predicted tHcy (r=0.34, P < 0.05). During dialysis, tHcy decreased by 28% and remained constant for at least 8 h after treatment. The amount of Hcy recovered in dialysate was 63 micromol (12-158 micromol). There was no difference in tHcy between those who had residual renal function and those who had not.
Conclusions: The direct relationship between tHcy and Kt/V seemed to be mediated by the serum albumin concentration. The shape of the interdialytic tHcy curve suggested facilitated Hcy removal for at least 8 h after dialysis possibly due to reduced levels of inhibitory activities against relevant enzyme(s). The dialysed amount of Hcy did not seem to contribute significantly to Hcy removal. Thus, modifications of standard dialytic regimens are not likely to be effective from a tHcy-lowering point of view whereas convective procedures such as haemofiltration or haemodiafiltration might be more effective.