Homocysteine, MTHFR C677T gene polymorphism, folic acid and vitamin B 12 in patients with retinal vein occlusion

Paola Ferrazi, Pierpaolo Di Micco, Ilaria Quaglia, Lisa Simona Rossi, Alessandro Giacco Bellatorre, Giorgio Gaspari, Lidia Luciana Rota, Corrado Lodigiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many available data have suggested that hyperhomocysteinaemia, an established independent risk factor for thrombosis (arterial and venous), may be associated with an increased risk of retinal vein occlusion (RVO). Aim of the study: To evaluate homocysteine metabolism in consecutive caucasian patients affected by RVO from Northern Italy. Patients and methods: 69 consecutive patients from Northern Italy (mean age 64.1 ± 14.6 yy) with recent RVO, were tested for plasma levels of homocysteine (tHcy: fasting and after loading with methionine), cyanocobalamine and folic acid levels (CMIA-Abbot) and looking for MTHFR C677T mutation (Light Cycler-Roche) and compared to 50 volunteers, enrolled as a control group. Results: Fasting levels of tHcy were significantly higher in patients than in controls: mean value 14.7 ± 7.7 vs 10.2 ± 8 nmol/ml. Post load levels were also significantly higher: mean value 42.7 ± 23.7 vs 30.4 ± 13.3 nmol/ml; Total homocysteine increase was also evaluated (i.e. Δ-tHcy) after methionine load and was also significantly higher in patients compared to control subjects: mean Δ-tHcy 27.8 ± 21.5 vs 21.0 ± 16 nmol/ml (normal value <25 nmol/ml). Furthermore, patients affected by RVO show low folic acid and/or vitamin B12 levels, although differences with control group did not reach statistical significance. Heterozygous and homozygous MTHFR mutation were respectively in study group 46% and 29% vs control group 56% and 4%. Conclusion: Our data confirm that hyperhomocysteinaemia is a risk factor for RVO, and also that TT genotype of MTHFR C677T is more frequently associated with RVO: if the mutation per se is a risk factor for RVO remains an open question to be confirmed because another study from US did not reveal this aspect. Hyperomocysteinemia is modifiable risk factor for thrombotic diseases. Therefore, a screening for tHcy plasma levels in patients with recent retinal vein occlusion could allow to identify patients who might benefit from supplementation with vitamins and normalization of homocysteine levels, in fasting and after methionine load.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalThrombosis Journal
Publication statusPublished - Sept 7 2005


  • Folic acid
  • Homocysteine
  • MTHFR C677T
  • Retinal vein occlusion
  • Thrombophilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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