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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Editorial Board Member: Gillery, Philippe / Kazmierczak, Steven / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Whitfield, John B.

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Homocysteine: a biomarker in neurodegenerative diseases

1 / Rima Obeid1

1Department of Clinical Chemistry, Medical School, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herrmann, Medical School, Saarland University, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Building 57, 66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany Phone: +4968 41/16-30700, Fax: +4968 41/16-30703

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 49, Issue 3, Pages 435–441, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2011.084, March 2011

Publication History



Diseases of the central nervous system are found in patients with severe hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy). Epidemiological studies show a positive, dose-dependent relationship between mild-to-moderate increases in plasma total homocysteine concentrations (Hcy) and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, cognitive impairment or stroke. HHcy is a surrogate marker for B vitamin deficiency (folate, B12, B6) and a neurotoxic agent. The concept of improving the patient's clinical outcome by lowering of Hcy with B vitamins seems to be attractive. Recent B vitamin supplementation trials demonstrated a slowing of brain atrophy and improvement in some domains of cognitive function. Meta-analysis of secondary prevention trials showed that B vitamins supplementation caused a decrease in plasma Hcy and a trend for lowering the risk of stroke. HHcy is common in elderly people. Therefore, it seems prudent to identify B vitamin deficient subjects and to ensure sufficient vitamin intake. Therefore, recent evidence supports the role of Hcy as a potential biomarker in age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cognitive impairment; dementia; folate; homocysteine; stroke; vitamin B12; vitamin deficiency

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