Novel genomic loci influencing plasma homocysteine levels

Iftikhar J. Kullo, Keyue Ding, Eric Boerwinkle, Stephen T. Turner, Thomas H. Mosley, Sharon L.R. Kardia, Mariza De Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE - Genetic factors that influence interindividual variation in levels of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for vascular disease, are not fully understood. We performed linkage analyses to identify genomic regions that influence homocysteine levels in blacks and non-Hispanic whites. METHODS - Subjects (n=2283) belonged to hypertensive sibships and included 1319 blacks (63±10 years, 70% women) and 964 non-Hispanic whites (61±7 years, 57% women). Fasting plasma homocysteine was measured by high-pressure liquid chromatography. Genotypes were measured at 366 microsatellite marker loci distributed across the 22 autosomes. Plasma homocysteine adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, serum creatinine, and estrogen use (in women) was used in the genetic analyses. Heritability and linkage analyses were performed using a variance components approach. RESULTS - Mean (±SD) homocysteine levels were 10.4±5.27 μmol/L in blacks and 10.0±2.84 μmol/L in non-Hispanic whites (P=0.58 for difference). Homocysteine levels were significantly (P<0.0001) heritable in blacks (h=0.70) and in non-Hispanic whites (h=0.49). Linkage analyses demonstrated significant evidence of linkage (multipoint logarithm of odds≥3.0) for homocysteine on chromosomes 1q42, 14q32, and 19p13 in blacks and on chromosomes 9q34 and 12q24 in non-Hispanic whites. Tentative evidence of linkage (logarithm of odds 1.3 to 2.0) was present on chromosomes 2q32, 7p15, 8q24, 18q21, and 20p12 in blacks and chromosomes 6q26 and 18q21 in non-Hispanic whites. Four genes in the homocysteine metabolism pathway (MTR, DNMT1, GAMT, and CARM1) were present under 2 of the significant linkage signals in blacks (chromosomes 1q42 and 19p13). CONCLUSIONS - Plasma homocysteine is a significantly heritable trait. Linkage analyses reveal several unique genomic loci that may influence circulating levels of homocysteine and therefore susceptibility to vascular diseases including stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1703-1709
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Genetic linkage
  • Homocysteine
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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