Pro-thrombotic and pro-oxidant effects of diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia

Thromb Res. 2007;120(1):117-26. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2006.08.001. Epub 2006 Sep 18.


Elevated plasma homocysteine levels are associated with the risk of atherosclerosis and arterial and venous thrombosis. We have previously demonstrated that rabbits rendered hyperhomocysteinemic by parenteral administration of homocysteine develop a dysfibrinogenemia that is associated with the formation of fibrin clots that are abnormally resistant to fibrinolysis. We suggested that this acquired dysfibrinogenemia contributes to the thrombotic tendency in hyperhomocysteinemia. However, it was possible that the homocysteine-associated dysfibrinogenemia was an artifact of the parenteral administration model. Therefore, the goals of the current study were to develop a diet-induced model of homocysteinemia in rabbits and determine whether a dysfibrinogenemia and evidence of oxidative stress develop in this model as they do when homocysteine is injected. We found that rabbits fed a diet severely deficient in folate and mildly deficient in choline develop mild hyperhomocysteinemia: 14.8+/-4.0 microM in deficient rabbits compared to 9.0+/-1.7 microM in controls. The deficient rabbits also develop evidence of oxidant stress: increased lipid peroxidation in liver, impaired mitochondrial enzyme activities in liver and elevated caspase-3 levels in plasma. Most importantly, the deficient rabbits also develop a dysfibrinogenemia characterized by increased resistance to fibrinolysis. We believe that this dietary model of homocysteinemia is clinically relevant and reproduces many features associated with hyperhomocysteinemia in previous work using in vitro and in vivo models. Our findings suggest that an acquired dysfibrinogenemia could play a role in the increased risk of atherothrombotic disease in mildly hyperhomocysteinemic human subjects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Caspase 3 / blood
  • Choline Deficiency / etiology
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fibrinolysis / drug effects
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / etiology*
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / blood
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / etiology
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rabbits
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • Thrombosis / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin E
  • Caspase 3
  • Ascorbic Acid