Polygenic influence on plasma homocysteine: association of two prevalent mutations, the 844ins68 of cystathionine beta-synthase and A(2756)G of methionine synthase, with lowered plasma homocysteine levels

Atherosclerosis. 2000 Mar;149(1):131-7. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(99)00297-x.


A moderately elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy), whether measured during fasting or post-methionine load (PML), is increasingly being recognized as a risk factor for coronary artery diseases (CAD). However, etiologies for moderately elevated plasma tHcy, particularly with regard to the role of genetic influence on plasma tHcy levels, are still not well understood. In the current investigation, we studied 1025 individuals with respect to the effect of the 68-bp insertion (844ins68 variant) of the cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) gene, the A(2756)G transition of the B(12)-dependent methionine synthase (MS) gene and the C(677)T transition of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene on fasting and 4 h PML tHcy. Of these individuals, 153 (14.9%) were heterozygous for the 68-bp insertion, 329 (32.1%) were heterozygous for the G(2756) allele and 122 (11.9%) were homozygous for the C(677)T transition. Individuals heterozygous for the insertion had significantly lower PML increase in tHcy concentrations, while individuals homozygous for the A(2756)G transition had significantly lower fasting tHcy levels. A 2-way ANOVA showed that there was no interaction between the 844ins68 and the A(2756)G transition for either fasting tHcy or PML increase in tHcy, confirming the fact that the effect of these two genotypes on plasma tHcy levels are additive. The effects are opposite but additive with the C(677)50% of all individuals in this study carried polymorphic traits, which predisposed them to either higher or lower plasma tHcy concentrations, thus providing new evidence of the importance of genetic influences as determinants of tHcy levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Coronary Disease / genetics*
  • Cystathionine beta-Synthase / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / physiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*


  • Homocysteine
  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase
  • Cystathionine beta-Synthase