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The Oxidant Stress of Hyperhomocyst(e)inemia. *

Homocysteine is a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and its thrombotic complications. We have employed an animal model to explore the hypothesis that an increase in reactive oxygen species and a subsequent loss of nitric oxide bioactivity contribute to endothelial dysfunction in mild hyperhomocysteinemia.

We examined endothelial function and in vivo oxidant burden in mice heterozygous for a deletion in the cystathionine ß-synthase (CBS) gene, by studying isolated, precontracted aortic rings and mesenteric arterioles in situ. CBS–/+ mice demonstrated impaired acetylcholine-induced aortic relaxation and a paradoxical vasoconstriction of mesenteric microvessels in response to superfusion of methacholine and bradykinin. Cyclic GMP accumulation following acetylcholine treatment was also impaired in isolated aortic segments from CBS–/+ mice, but aortic relaxation and mesenteric arteriolar dilation in response to sodium nitroprusside were similar to wild-type. Plasma levels of 8-epi-PGF2{alpha} (8-IP) were somewhat increased in CBS–/+ mice, but liver levels of 8-IP and phospholipid hydroperoxides, another marker of oxidative stress, were normal.

Aortic tissue from CBS–/+ mice also demonstrated greater superoxide production and greater immunostaining for 3-nitrotyrosine, particularly on the endothelial surface. Importantly, endothelial dysfunction appears early in CBS–/+ mice in the absence of structural arterial abnormalities. Hence, mild hyperhomocysteinemia due to reduced CBS expression impairs endothelium-dependent vasodilation, likely due to impaired nitric oxide bioactivity, and increased oxidative stress apparently contributes to inactivating nitric oxide in chronic, mild hyperhomocysteinemia.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 05-26-2006