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Exposure to Toxic Heavy Metals Can Influence Homocysteine Metabolism?

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Department of Health Promotion Sciences Maternal and Infantile Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialities “Giuseppe D’Alessandro”, University of Palermo, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, 70124 Bari, Italy
Department of Medical Science, Surgical Science and advanced Technologies “G.F, Ingrassia”, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Antioxidants 2020, 9(1), 30;
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 20 December 2019 / Accepted: 24 December 2019 / Published: 28 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxidative Stress in Vascular Disease )
Background: Homocysteine is a sulfur amino acid whose metabolism is activated in two pathways: remethylation to methionine, which requires folate and vitamin B12, and transsulfuration to cystathionine, which needs pyridoxal-5’-phosphate. High homocysteine level increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular diseases, and cognitive impairment. Some evidence showed that exposure to these metals increased plasma homocysteine levels. Methods: A systematic review was carried out to clarify the relationship between homocysteine blood levels and exposure to toxic heavy metals (Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, and Chromium). Results: The results of this systematic review indicate that exposure to Pb, Cr, Cd, and Hg is connected with nonphysiological homocysteine levels or vitamin B12 and folate serum concentrations. Conclusions: These findings reinforce the importance of involvement in exposure to heavy metals in homocysteine metabolism. This supports the role of blood metals as potential upstream modifiable risk factors to prevent the development of other established risk factors as hyperhomocysteinemia. View Full-Text
Keywords: methionine; MTHFR; vitamin B6; vitamin B12; folate; lead; chromium; cadmium; mercury methionine; MTHFR; vitamin B6; vitamin B12; folate; lead; chromium; cadmium; mercury
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Ledda, C.; Cannizzaro, E.; Lovreglio, P.; Vitale, E.; Stufano, A.; Montana, A.; Li Volti, G.; Rapisarda, V. Exposure to Toxic Heavy Metals Can Influence Homocysteine Metabolism? Antioxidants 2020, 9, 30.

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