The current status of homocysteine as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: a mini review

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2018 Aug;16(8):559-565. doi: 10.1080/14779072.2018.1497974. Epub 2018 Jul 17.


Hyperhomocysteinemia has been considered as a risk factor for systemic atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke and many epidemiologic and case-controlled studies have demonstrated its association with these complications. In addition, treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia with folic acid ± B vitamins prevents the development of atherosclerosis, CVD and strokes. However, subsequent prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trials have not shown an association of high homocysteine levels or their lowering with treatment with the incidence of atherosclerosis, CVD or strokes, due possibly, to the fortification of flower with folic acid. Therefore, at present, there is a controversy regarding the significance of homocysteine as a risk factor for CVD and stroke and whether patients should be routinely screened for homocysteine. Areas covered: For these reasons, a focused Medline search of the English language literature was conducted between 2010 and 2017 using the terms, homocysteine, risk factor, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, treatment, and 38 papers with pertinent information were selected. Expert commentary: The review of data disclosed that there is a great controversy regarding the significance of homocysteine as a risk factor for CVD and stroke. The data from these papers together with collateral literature will be discussed in this mini review.

Keywords: Homocysteine; atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; risk factor; stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Homocysteine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / complications*
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Folic Acid