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Elevated level of plasma homocysteine (Hcy) has been identified as an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD). Furthermore, numerous studies have documented the influences of a common polymorphism (C677T) of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) on homocysteine levels. However the relationship between this mutation and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) has remained as a controversial issue. The present study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between C677T polymorphism of MTHFR gene, plasma total Hcy levels and the number of affected vessels as a criterion for the extent of CAD. MTHFR genotypes and plasma homocysteine (HCY) concentrations were examined in 231 patients and 300 healthy subjects who underwent diagnostic coronary angiography. A multiple linear regression analysis was performed to identify the predictors of Hcy levels whereas logistic regression model was built to determine the association of Hcy quartiles with the risk of CAD adjusted for risk factors. The prevalence of MTHFR genotypes was similar between CAD patients and non-CAD individuals while the geometric mean of Hcy values was significantly higher in patient group (14.13 ± 4.11 μmol/l) than in control group (10.19 ± 3.52 μmol/l) (P < 0.001). Moreover, unlike the MTHFR polymorphism, Hcy concentration increased with increasing number of stenosed vessels and the CAD risk increased about 2 folds in the top two Hcy quartiles (≥ 17.03 and 13.20-17.02 μmol/l) compared with the lowest quartile (≤ 9.92 μmol/l) after controlling for conventional risk factors (P<0.001 for both). Our data suggest that hyperhomocysteinaemia (HHcy) is significantly associated to CAD risk increase as well as to the extent of coronary atherosclerosis.
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