The present study aimed to evaluate effects of a water-soluble protein fraction of chicken (CP), with a low methionine/glycine ratio, on plasma homocysteine and metabolites related to homocysteine metabolism. Male Wistar rats were fed either a control diet with 20% w/w casein as the protein source, or an experimental diet where 6, 14 or 20% w/w of the casein was replaced with the same amount of CP for four weeks. Rats fed CP had reduced plasma total homocysteine level and markedly increased levels of the choline pathway metabolites betaine, dimethylglycine, sarcosine, glycine and serine, as well as the transsulfuration pathway metabolites cystathionine and cysteine. Hepatic mRNA level of enzymes involved in homocysteine remethylation, methionine synthase and betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase, were unchanged, whereas cystathionine gamma-lyase of the transsulfuration pathway was increased in the CP treated rats. Plasma concentrations of vitamin B2, folate, cobalamin, and the B-6 catabolite pyridoxic acid were increased in the 20% CP-treated rats. In conclusion, the CP diet was associated with lower plasma homocysteine concentration and higher levels of serine, choline oxidation and transsulfuration metabolites compared to a casein diet. The status of related B-vitamins was also affected by CP.
Keywords: Wistar rats; chicken protein; homocysteine; one-carbon metabolism; peroxisome proliferator activated receptor.