Association of Hyperhomocysteinemia in Alzheimer Disease with Elevated Neopterin Levels

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In patients with dementias including Alzheimer disease (AD), elevated blood concentrations of homocysteine are common, often going along with low normal folate and vitamin B12. Immune activation leading to oxidative stress also seems to play an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. To find out a possible relationship between immune activation and the development of moderate hyperhomocysteinemia, we determined serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12 and immune activation markers 75 kD soluble TNF receptor (sTNF-R75) and neopterin in 38 patients with clinically diagnosed AD. A subgroup of patients (45%) presented with increased homocysteine concentrations in comparison to reference ranges in healthy controls of similar age. Also, concentrations of immune activation markers were elevated in a significant proportion of patients. In 17 patients with moderate hyperhomocysteinemia, concentrations of neopterin were higher than in those with lower homocysteine (p < 0.001). Homocysteine correlated with folate (rs= −0.43; p < 0.01) and neopterin (rs= 0.506; p < 0.001). The data suggest that immune activation and concomitant production of reactive oxygen species in patients with AD could be involved in the development of hyperhomocysteinemia via an enhanced decomposition of folate.

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