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Homocystine is a thiol-containing amino acid produced by the intracellular dedemethylation of the amino acid methionine. It is released into plasma where it circulates both as free and protien bound (together referred to as total homocyteine). Homocytenine is metabolised to either methione or to cysteine by the B6 dependent pathway. If any of these pathways is impaired homocysteine accumulates in the blood and if severe in the urine (homocysteinuria.rare genetic disorders).
Epidemiological research has shown that elevated total homocytenine is an independent risk factor of cardiovascular disease. It was shown that 5 umol/l increase in total homocytenine is assosiated with same increased risk of coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease as would be caused by 19.5 mg/dl increase in cholestrol. Some drugs .e.g. Methotreate. Carbamazepine, phenytoin, nitrous oxide and chronic renal disease may also be assosiated with elevated levels.
Homocytenine values will normally increase with age, giving a reference range among elderly (above 60 years) of 5-20 umol/l
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.