, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 561-572

Mechanisms of homocysteine toxicity in humans

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Summary.

Homocysteine, a non-protein amino acid, is an important risk factor for ischemic heart disease and stroke in humans. This review provides an overview of homocysteine influence on endothelium function as well as on protein metabolism with a special respect to posttranslational modification of protein with homocysteine thiolactone. Homocysteine is a pro-thrombotic factor, vasodilation impairing agent, pro-inflammatory factor and endoplasmatic reticulum-stress inducer. Incorporation of Hcy into protein via disulfide or amide linkages (S-homocysteinylation or N-homocysteinylation) affects protein structure and function. Protein N-homocysteinylation causes cellular toxicity and elicits autoimmune response, which may contribute to atherogenesis.

Present address: Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Agricultural University, 60637 Poznań, Poland