Circulating lipid hydroperoxide levels in human hyperhomocysteinemia. Relevance to development of arteriosclerosis.
Elevated circulating homocyst(e)ine is a risk factor for occlusive vascular disease. We explored whether elevated plasma homocyst(e)ine is associated with increased plasma lipid hydroperoxides that might trigger vascular disease. We obtained plasma containing high levels of homocyst(e)ine from four patients with a homozygous deficiency of cystathionine beta-synthase activity and also from four heterozygotes with a deficiency of this enzyme after an oral methionine load. The mean plasma non-protein-bound homocyst(e)ine level in all subjects was more than 11-fold higher than the mean normal fasting value. Levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesteryl ester hydroperoxides (CEOOH), normalized against the concentration of free cholesterol in HDL, were not elevated in our subjects (mean +/- SD, 0.0091 +/- 0.0061) compared with values for 14 fasting healthy donors (0.0164 +/- 0.0086). An inverse dependency was observed between plasma total homocyst(e)ine and HDL CEOOH (r = -0.78, p = 0.023). Also, the ubiquinol-10/ubiquinone-10 ratio in HDL, which is expected to fall during oxidative stress, increased with plasma homocyst(e)ine. Since HDL contains the majority of detectable plasma lipid hydroperoxides, of which CEOOHs are the most abundant, our data suggest that an elevated plasma homocyst(e)ine level does not enhance oxidative stress, increase the levels of lipid hydroperoxides in plasma, or generate vascular damage by this mechanism.