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Bertsch, Thomas; Mielke, Orell; Höly, Sabine; Zimmer, Wilma; Casarin, Wendy; Aufenanger, Johannes; Walter, Silke; Muehlhauser, Frank; Kuehl, Sandra; Ragoschke, Andreas; Fassbender, Klaus (2001): Homocysteine in cerebrovascular disease: An independent risk factor for subcortical vascular encephalopathy. In: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 39, No. 8: pp. 721-724


Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for obstructive large-vessel disease. Here, we studied plasma concentrations of homocysteine and vitamins in patients suffering from subcortical vascular encephalopathy (SVE), a cerebral small-vessel disease leading to dementia. These results were compared to the homocysteine and vitamin plasma concentrations from patients with cerebral large vessel disease and healthy control subjects. Plasma concentrations of homocysteine, vascular risk factors and vitamin status (B-6, B-12, folate) were determined in 82 patients with subcortical vascular encephalopathy, in 144 patients with cerebral large-vessel disease and in 102 control subjects. Patients with SVE, but not those with cerebral large-vessel disease, exhibited pathologically increased homocysteine concentrations in comparison with control subjects without cerebrovascular disease. Patients with SVE also showed lower vitamin B6 values in comparison to subjects without cerebrovascular disease. Logistic regression analysis showed that homocysteine is associated with the highest risk for SVE (odds ratio 5.7; CI 2.5-12.9) in comparison to other vascular risk factors such as hypertension, age and smoking. These observations indicate that hyperhomocysteinemia is a strong independent risk factor for SVE.