Evidence for interactions between homocysteine and genistein: insights into stroke risk and potential treatment
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Elevated plasma homocysteine (2-amino-4-sulfanylbutanoic acid) level is a risk factor for stroke. Moreover, it has been suggested that high levels of homocysteine in the acute phase of an ischemic stroke can predict mortality, especially in stroke patients with the large-vessel atherosclerosis subtype. In clinical studies, supplementation with genistein (5, 7-dihydroxy-3- (4-hydroxyphenyl)-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one) decreased plasma homocysteine levels considerably. Therefore, genistein could be considered as a potential drug for prevention and/or treatment of stroke. However, the mechanism of the effect of genistein on homocysteine level remains to be elucidated. In this report, direct functional interactions between homocysteine and genistein are demonstrated in in vitro experimental systems for determination of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MetF) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities, reconstructed with purified compounds, and in a simple in vivo system, based on measurement of growth rate of Vibrio harveyi and Bacillus subtilis cultures. Results of molecular modelling indicated that homocysteine can directly interact with genistein. Therefore, genistein-mediated decrease in plasma levels of homocysteine, and alleviation of biochemical and physiological effects of one of these compounds by another, might be ascribed to formation of homocysteine-genistein complexes in which biological activities of these molecules are abolished or alleviated.
KeywordsHomocysteine Genistein Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase Vibrio harveyi Stroke
This work was supported by National Science Centre (Poland) project grant no. 2011/02/A/NZ1/00009 to G.W.
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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