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When to measure plasma homocysteine and how to place it in context: the homocystinurias


Huemer, Martina (2020). When to measure plasma homocysteine and how to place it in context: the homocystinurias. Journal of Mother and Child, 24(2):39-46.

Abstract

This review presents clinical patterns that should trigger homocysteine measurement in blood, as well as the further diagnostic work-up focused on inborn errors of metabolism and disorders of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) absorption and supply. The numerous conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease) for which mild-to-moderate hyperhomocysteinaemia caused by genetic polymorphisms or acquired reasons is considered a risk factor are beyond the scope of this review.Homocysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid, which is derived from the amino acid methionine. Homocysteine is either trans-sulphurated to form cystathionine and then cysteine, or re-methylated to methionine. The trans-sulphuration reaction depends on the enzyme cystathionine beta synthase and its cofactor vitamin B6. The re-methylation reaction not only involves the enzymes methionine synthase and methionine synthase reductase but also depends on the cofactor cobalamin and on the provision of methyl groups from the folate cycle. Because the homocysteine-methionine cycle provides for the vast majority of methyl groups in the body, it is central to numerous pathways that depend on methyl group supply, such as creatine synthesis or DNA methylation. Based on this premise, the severity of clinical presentations of inborn errors of metabolism, such as classical homocystinuria or the cobalamin C (cblC) defect, affecting this pathway is unsurprising.

Abstract

This review presents clinical patterns that should trigger homocysteine measurement in blood, as well as the further diagnostic work-up focused on inborn errors of metabolism and disorders of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) absorption and supply. The numerous conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease) for which mild-to-moderate hyperhomocysteinaemia caused by genetic polymorphisms or acquired reasons is considered a risk factor are beyond the scope of this review.Homocysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid, which is derived from the amino acid methionine. Homocysteine is either trans-sulphurated to form cystathionine and then cysteine, or re-methylated to methionine. The trans-sulphuration reaction depends on the enzyme cystathionine beta synthase and its cofactor vitamin B6. The re-methylation reaction not only involves the enzymes methionine synthase and methionine synthase reductase but also depends on the cofactor cobalamin and on the provision of methyl groups from the folate cycle. Because the homocysteine-methionine cycle provides for the vast majority of methyl groups in the body, it is central to numerous pathways that depend on methyl group supply, such as creatine synthesis or DNA methylation. Based on this premise, the severity of clinical presentations of inborn errors of metabolism, such as classical homocystinuria or the cobalamin C (cblC) defect, affecting this pathway is unsurprising.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2 October 2020
Deposited On:22 Jan 2021 16:29
Last Modified:22 Jan 2021 16:30
Publisher:Sciendo
ISSN:2719-535X
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.34763/jmotherandchild.20202402si.2016.000007
PubMed ID:33179601

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