2002 Volume 198 Issue 2 Pages 99-105
Atherosclerosis is an important cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in recent years. Hyperhomocysteinemia is recognized as an independent risk factor for premature atherosclerosis and venous thrombosis. It is suggested that administration of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 may decrease homocysteine levels. In our study, we induced hyperhomocysteinemia in rabbits by giving methionine and studied the effects of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 on homocysteine levels. A total of 40 (20 female, 20 male New Zealand rabbits) were divided into four groups, each consisting of 10 rabbits. Methionine (100 mg/kg/day), methionine (100 mg/kg/day) plus vitamin B6 (30 mg/kg/day), methionine (100 mg/kg/day) plus vitamin B12 (80 mg/kg/day) and methionine (100 mg/kg/day) plus folic acid (20 mg/kg/day) were given to the first, second, third and forth groups respectively. These rabbits were followed up for two months. We studied homocysteine levels on the 0, 20th, 40th and 60th days in all groups. In rabbits we induced hyperhomocysteinemia by giving methionine for 2 months. The decreases of homocysteine levels in the forth group were significant with respect to the second and third groups. Folic acid supplementation clearly resulted in a reduction of plasma homocysteine levels, whereas vitamin B12 was little effective and vitamin B6 failed to show an effect. We conclude that even folic acid treatment alone may be sufficient for decreasing negative effects of homocysteine.