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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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Elevated levels of plasma homocysteine in postmenopausal women in Burkina Faso

Rosa Chillemi
  • Department of Chemical Science, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
/ Jacques Simpore
  • Centre Medical St. Camille, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Rome, Italy
/ Silvia Persichilli
  • Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory of Catholic University, Rome, Italy
/ Angelo Minucci
  • Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory of Catholic University, Rome, Italy
/ Alfonsina D'Agata
  • Department of Paediatrics, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
/ Salvatore Musumeci
  • Department of Pharmacology, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Paediatrics, University of Sassari and Institute of Population Genetics, CNR, Porto Conte (SS), Italy


Background: Low levels of plasma homocysteine have been found in children and adult populations living in Burkina Faso in association with a low prevalence of coronary heart disease. Methods: Based on this finding, the levels of plasma homocysteine and other thiols (cysteine, cysteinylglycine, glutathione) in postmenopausal women living in Burkina Faso were evaluated with the aim of investigating whether age and life conditions influence plasma homocysteine and other thiol levels. Results: It was found that in older postmenopausal women the mean level of homocysteine was higher (16.4±6.6 μmol/L) than in fertile women (6.8±1.2 μmol/L) and that thisincrease was correlated with cysteine levels (166.6±44.6 μmol/L). While the glutathione level in postmenopausal women was lower (3.6±2.3 μmol/L) compared with fertile women (7.0±1.7 μmol/L), cysteinylglycine levels were within the normal range (29.9±9.3 μmol/L). No correlation was found between homocysteine levels and serum folate, vitamin B 12, vitamin B 6, cystatin C and serum creatinine levels. The older the women were, the higher were their plasma homocysteine levels: levels up to 20.2±9.1μmol/L were found in those >70 years old. Conclusions: The elevated levels of homocysteine in the postmenopausal women of Burkina Faso must be viewed as a characteristic of older age and its metabolic consequences.

Keywords: Burkina Faso; homocysteine; postmenopausal women

Corresponding author: Prof. Salvatore Musumeci, Department of Pharmacology, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Paediatrics, University of Sassari, Viale San Pietro n. 43b, 07100 Sassari, Italy Phone: +39-360285505, Fax: +39-0957179690,

Received: February 21, 2005

Accepted: April 20, 2005

Published in Print: 2005-07-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine. Volume 43, Issue 7, Pages 765–771, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2005.131, July 2005

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