OBJECTIVE: Homocysteine has been shown to be a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular mortality in very old persons than models based on classical risk factors. Arterial stiffening is a structural abnormality involved in the pathway of cardiovascular disease. We expect this underlying pathophysiology to be a possible explanation for the association between homocysteine and cardiovascular risk, particularly in older populations. METHODS: Baseline cross-sectional data of the B-PROOF study were used to determine associations between homocysteine and outcomes of vascular function and structure. The cardiovascular subgroup of the B-PROOF study was included [n = 560, 58% men, age 72.6 ± 5.5 years, median homocysteine level 14.2 μmol/l (IQR 13.0-16.6)]. We assessed carotid distensibility coefficient, carotid compliance coefficient, aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), augmentation index (AIx) and aortic pulse pressure (aortic PP). Associations were tested using linear regression analysis and ANCOVA and were adjusted for possible confounders including age, sex, renal function, mean arterial pressure and heart rate. RESULTS: Ln-homocysteine was strongly associated with aPWV [β 0.005 95% confidence interval (0.001-0.009)]. Furthermore, this association was shown to be age-dependent (P = 0.02) and it was most strong in the upper tertile of age (77-98 years). No significant associations with ln-homocysteine were observed for AIx, carotid distensibility coefficient and compliance coefficient and aortic PP. Sex stratification shows the association between ln-homocysteine and aPWV is only significant in men. CONCLUSION: In older persons, homocysteine is associated with aortic stiffness, predominantly in the oldest old. This suggests that the strong association between homocysteine and cardiovascular mortality in the elderly may be mediated by aortic stiffness.

, , , , , , , ,
doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0b013e32835eb6b9, hdl.handle.net/1765/70033
Journal of Hypertension
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Dijk, S., Smulders, Y., Enneman, A., Swart, K., van Wijngaarden, J., Ham, A., … van der Velde, N. (2013). Homocysteine level is associated with aortic stiffness in elderly: Cross-sectional results from the B-PROOF study. Journal of Hypertension, 31(5), 952–959. doi:10.1097/HJH.0b013e32835eb6b9