Plasma methionine and risk of acute myocardial infarction: Effect modification by established risk factors

Atherosclerosis. 2018 May;272:175-181. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2018.03.038. Epub 2018 Mar 23.


Background and aims: Methionine (Met) is an essential amino acid involved in methylation reactions and lipid metabolism. A Met-deficient diet may cause hepatic lipid accumulation, which is considered an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. However, the prospective relationship between circulating Met and incident acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is unknown.

Methods: We studied the associations of plasma Met and incident AMI in 4156 patients (77% men; median age 62 years) with stable angina pectoris, among whom the majority received lipid lowering therapy with statins. Risk associations were estimated using Cox-regression analyses.

Results: Plasma Met was negatively related to age, serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and apolipoprotein (apo) B at baseline (all p≤0.05). During a median follow-up of 7.5 years, 534 (12.8%) patients experienced an AMI. There was no overall association between plasma Met and incident AMI; however, plasma Met was inversely associated with risk among patients with high as compared to low levels of serum LDL-C or apo B 100 (multivariate adjusted HRs per SD [95% CI] 0.84 [0.73-0.96] and 0.83[0.73-0.95], respectively; p-interaction ≤0.02). Trends towards an inverse risk relationship were also observed among those younger than 62 years and patients without diabetes or hypertension.

Conclusions: Low plasma Met was associated with increased risk of AMI in patients with high circulating levels of atherogenic lipids, but also in subgroups with presumably lower cardiovascular risk. The determinants of Met status and their relation with residual cardiovascular risk in patients with coronary heart disease should be further investigated.

Keywords: Acute myocardial infarction; Amino acids; Angina pectoris; Lipids; Methionine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Angina, Stable / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Methionine / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood*
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Lipids
  • Methionine