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Homocysteine and the Kidney

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Plasma homocysteine concentration exhibits a strong relationship with (indices of) renal function. Hyperhomocysteinemia has been implicated in the high vascular event rate in patients with chronic renal failure. The precise pathophysiological explanation for the occurrence of hyperhomocysteinemia in renal failure is not yet elucidated. A defective intrinsic renal metabolism of homocysteine seems unlikely. There are several indications that whole body homocysteine metabolism is altered in renal insufficiency. Stable isotope studies in dialysis patients have shown a decreased homocysteine clearance by transsulfuration and decreased homocysteine remethylation and methionine transmethylation. Several, but not all, prospective studies have linked hyperhomocysteinemia to adverse cardiovascular outcomes in renal failure patients. Treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia in renal insufficiency is based on folic acidcontaining regimens, but so far, none of the regimens has been shown to successfully normalize plasma homocysteine concentration. Intervention studies have not yet demonstrated beneficial vascular effects of homocysteine-lowering treatment in dialysis patients.
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Keywords: amino acid metabolism; homocysteine; hyperhomocysteinemia; renal insufficiency

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, VU University Medical Center, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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