Background: Total homocysteine (tHcy) and lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] levels have been recognized as risk factors for vascular disease. The combination of elevated tHcy and Lp(a) levels may be particularly atherogenic, although no study has examined the prevalence of the combination of both risk factors in patients with chronic renal impairment.
Methods: One hundred ninety-seven patients with renal impairment were studied. Patients had glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measured by clearance of chromium 51-labeled EDTA. Blood was obtained for the determination of tHcy, Lp(a), and apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)] isoform levels.
Results: Patients were divided into five groups according to GFR. Mean tHcy levels in the five groups were as follows: GFR less than 10 mL/min, 30.2 +/- 9.8 (SD) micromol/L; GFR of 10 to 20 mL/min, 26.6 +/- 10.5 micromol/L; GFR of 20 to 30 mL/min, 23.9 +/- 8.6 micromol/L; GFR of 30 to 45 mL/min, 22.2 +/- 8.6 micromol/L; and GFR of 45 to 75 mL/min, 18.2 +/- 9.1 micromol/L compared with control levels of 12.7 +/- 4.6 micromol/L. There was a progressive increase in median Lp(a) levels with declining renal function: median Lp(a) levels for those with a GFR less than 10 mL/min were 37.1 mg/dL (range, 0.6 to 156.0 mg/dL); GFR of 10 to 20 mL/min, 30.3 mg/dL (range, 2.6 to 163.7 mg/dL); GFR of 20 to 30 mL/min, 26.1 mg/dL (range, 0.0 to 164.0 mg/dL); GFR of 30 to 45 mL/min, 20.9 mg/dL (range, 0.0 to 99.8 mg/dL), and GFR of 45 to 75 mL/min, 16.8 mg/dL (range, 2.1 to 81.0 mg/dL) compared with control values of 12.5 mg/dL (range, 0.0 to 88.7 mg/dL).
Conclusion: Defining hyperhomocysteinemia as tHcy levels greater than the 90th percentile of controls and elevated Lp(a) level as greater than 30 mg/dL, the frequency of the combination increased with declining renal function. Fifty-eight percent of patients with a GFR less than 10 mL/min had both hyperhomocysteinemia and elevated Lp(a) levels, and even in patients with mild renal impairment, 20% of patients had both risk factors present.
Copyright 2002 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.