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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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

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Volume 43, Issue 10


Concentrations of homocysteine, related metabolites and asymmetric dimethylarginine in preeclamptic women with poor nutritional status

Wolfgang Herrmann
  • Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Sonia Isber
  • Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Rima Obeid
  • Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Markus Herrmann
  • Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital of Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Muhidien Jouma
  • Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Damascus University, Damascus, Syria
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2011-09-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2005.198


Background: Hyperhomocysteinemia, a proxy measure for the nutritional status of the B vitamins, may be involved in the etiology of preeclampsia via inducing endothelial dysfunction. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an inhibitor of NO-synthase that may adversely affect the endothelium.

Materials and methods: We investigated serum concentrations of folate, vitamin B12, B6, homocysteine (Hcy) and related metabolites in 139 Syrian preeclamptic women and 93 asymptomatic pregnant women of comparable age, gestational age and socioeconomic status. Plasma concentrations of ADMA were determined in a subset of age- and gestation-age-matched pairs of patients and controls (n=63).

Results: Higher concentrations of Hcy, cystathionine and methylmalonic acid (MMA) were closely linked to a lower status of the B vitamins. Higher concentrations of Hcy and cystathionine were observed in the preeclamptic group than in the matched controls (median Hcy 9.3 vs. 6.0μmol/L; median cystathionine 284 vs. 232nmol/L). Serum folate was significantly lower in patients than in controls (16.4 vs. 36.0nmol/L). Folate supplementation was less likely to be used in preeclamptic women. Concentrations of MMA were elevated in patients and controls and did not differ significantly between the two groups. Median plasma concentrations of ADMA were significantly lower in asymptomatic women than in those who developed preeclampsia before the 37th week of gestation (0.61 vs. 0.68μmol/L).

Conclusions: Elevated serum concentrations of Hcy, cystathionine and MMA indicate poor status of the B vitamins during pregnancy. The adverse effect of Hcy on endothelial function might be related to ADMA in early-onset preeclampsia. More emphasis should be placed on increasing the intake of B vitamins in pregnant women from developing countries.

Keywords: asymmetric dimethylarginine; folate; homocysteine; preeclampsia


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About the article

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herrmann, Zentrallabor der Universitätskliniken des Saarlandes, Gebäude 57, 66421 Homburg, Germany Phone: +49-6841-1630700, Fax: +49-6841-1630703,

Published Online: 2011-09-21

Published in Print: 2005-10-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM), Volume 43, Issue 10, Pages 1139–1146, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2005.198.

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