Osteoporosis is an age-related bone disease, affecting mainly postmenopausal women, characterized by decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and consequent risk of fractures. Homocysteine (Hcy), a sulfur-aminoacid whose serum level is regulated by methylenetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) activity and vitamin B12 and folate as cofactors, is a risk factor for inflammatory diseases. Literature data concerning the link between Hcy and osteoporosis are still debated. The aim of our study was to assess the relationship among Hcy and BMD, inflammation, vitamin status and bone turnover in postmenopausal osteoporosis. In 252 postmenopausal women, BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). In addition to serum Hcy, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and bone turnover markers (bone alkaline phosphatase-BAP, osteocalcin-OC, C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX), vitamin deficiencies and MTHFR-C677T polymorphism were evaluated. Hcy, inflammation, bone resorption markers and prevalence of C677T polymorphism were higher, whereas vitamin D, B12, folate, and bone formation markers were lower in women with decreased BMD compared to those with normal BMD. Our results suggest a significant association between Hcy, BMD and inflammation in postmenopausal osteoporosis. The regulation of Hcy overproduction and the modulation of the inflammatory substrate could represent additional therapeutic approaches for osteoporosis prevention.
Keywords: MTHFR; bone; bone mineral density; folate; hyperhomocysteinemia; inflammation; osteoporosis; postmenopausal women; vitamin B12; vitamin D.