Hyperhomocysteinemia Is Associated With Low Plasma Pyridoxine Levels in Children With Sickle Cell Disease

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Elevated plasma homocysteine levels have been shown to be a risk factor for endothelial cell damage and thrombosis, which are implicated in sickle cell disease (SCD)-related vaso-occlusion. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia in SCD. Fasting and postmethionine load (PML) homocysteine, red cell folate, and the MTHFR C677T mutation were determined in 77 patients with SCD and 110 African-American controls. Plasma methylmalonic acid and pyridoxine levels were determined in 54 patients and all controls. For analysis, the subjects were divided into two age groups (2–10 years and 10.1–21 years). In both age groups, median PML homocysteine levels were significantly elevated in patients with SCD compared with controls. Fasting homocysteine levels were elevated in patients with SCD versus controls only in those older than 10 years. Hyperhomocysteinemia was noted in 38% of patients versus 7% in controls. Folate levels were higher among patients than controls and showed a significant negative correlation with PML homocysteine levels in patients with SCD. Pyridoxine levels in patients with SCD were significantly lower than in controls and showed a negative correlation with PML homocysteine levels. Among patients with SCD, pyridoxine deficiency was more common (62%) among those with hyperhomocysteinemia compared with those with normal homocysteine levels (30%). Homozygosity for the MTHFR C677T mutation was rare. These data suggest that children with SCD have significant hyperhomocysteinemia, associated with pyridoxine and relative folate deficiencies.

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