Genetic evidence that nitric oxide modulates homocysteine: The NOS3 894TT genotype is a risk factor for hyperhomocystenemia

Karen S. Brown, Leo A.J. Kluijtmans, Ian S. Young, Jayne Woodside, John W.G. Yarnell, Dorothy McMaster, Liam Murray, Alun E. Evans, Colin A. Boreham, Helene McNulty, J. J. Strain, Laura E. Mitchell, Alexander S. Whitehead

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Objective - Mild hyperhomocystenemia is an independent, graded risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Genetic determinants of hyperhomocystenemia include functional polymorphisms in several folate/homocysteine metabolic enzymes. Nitric oxide may also modulate plasma homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations, either by direct inhibition of methionine synthase or via an indirect effect on folate catabolism. Methods and Results - The hypothesis that the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) G894T polymorphism is a genetic determinant of tHcy concentrations was tested in 2 independent healthy adult populations. In both populations, NOS3 genotype was significantly associated with tHcy concentrations in nonsmokers with low folate (P=0.03 for each). Models were constructed to adjust for known determinants of tHcy concentrations and test for interactions between NOS3 genotype and these determinants in nonsmokers from each population. NOS3 genotype remained a significant determinant of tHcy concentrations after adjustment. Interactions between NOS3 genotype and serum folate were significant in both populations, and the interaction between NOS3 genotype and MTHFR C677T genotype was significant in the larger population. Conclusions - These data indicate that the NOS3 894TT genotype is a risk factor for elevated tHcy in healthy nonsmoking adults with low serum folate and supports the hypothesis that nitric oxide modulates homocysteine through an effect on folate catabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1020
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2003


  • 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
  • Hyperhomocystenemia
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Smoking


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