Homocysteine and oxidative stress
Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (ischemic disease, such as stroke and myocardial infarction, and arterial and venous thrombotic events) in the general population. We can assume that the association is causal, based on the example of homocystinuria, and on the evidence put forward by several basic science and epidemiological studies; however, the results of large intervention trials, which will grant further support to this hypothesis, are not yet available. In addition, the mechanisms underlying this relationship, and also explaining the several toxic effects of homocysteine, related or not to cardiovascular disease, are unclear. Oxidation is one of the most favored postulated mechanisms; others are nitrosylation, acylation, and hypomethylation. Regarding the relative importance of these mechanisms, each of these hold pros and cons, and these are weighed in order to propose a balance of evidence.
Homocysteine can induce a pro-oxidant action in vitro through hydrogen peroxide production during metal-catalyzed oxidation, and, in the presence of nitric oxide, the superoxide anion can form powerful oxidant peroxynitrite.