Folic acid administration and antibodies against homocysteinylated proteins in subjects with hyperhomocysteinemia.Thromb Haemost 2006; 96(3):342-7TH
Growing evidence indicates that elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) levels can elicit autoimmune response in vivo. Antibodies against Nepsilon-Hcy-proteins have been shown to be associated with stroke and premature myocardial infarction. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of treatment with folic acid on anti-Nepsilon-Hcy-albumin and -hemoglobin antibodies. We recruited 20 apparently healthy men and 12 male patients with documented coronary artery disease (CAD). All participants had plasma fasting tHcy levels >15 microM. At baseline, and after three and six months of treatment with folic acid 1 mg daily, we determined tHcy, serum folate and vitamin B12 levels, along with serum anti-Nepsilon-Hcy-albumin and -hemoglobin IgG antibodies using the home-made immunoenzymatic assays. Both groups did not differ with regard to age, tHcy, folate, lipid profile, and CRP. The only significant difference between healthy subjects and CAD patients was levels of antibodies against Nepsilon-Hcy-albumin. As expected, folic acid administration led to significant decreases in tHcy and increases in folate levels in both groups. Levels of both anti-Nepsilon-Hcy-albumin and -hemoglobin antibodies fell markedly following a three-month folic acid administration in healthy subjects, but not in CAD patients, without any changes at six months in either group. Folic acid administration resulted in a loss of significant correlations between tHcy and antibodies both following three and six months of the therapy in healthy subjects, in contrast to CAD patients. Carriers of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677T allele with CAD had significantly higher levels of anti-Nepsilon-Hcy-albumin before and during folic acid administration as compared to healthy subjects. In conclusion, our findings suggest that Hcy-related autoimmune response is resistant to folic acid administration in CAD patients, while in healthy subjects reduced tHcy levels are associated with suppressed production of antibodies against Nepsilon-Hcyproteins. These observations might explain at least in part the failure of vitamin therapy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events as recently reported.