Methionine intolerance: A possible risk factor for coronary artery disease

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Homocystinuria, an inherited disorder associated with premature atherosclerosis, represents a severe form of methionine intolerance. To analyze the importance of milder forms of methionine intolerance in the genesis of vascular disease, the relation between provokable methionine intolerance and coronary artery disease was investigated. In a group of 138 men, aged 31 to 65 years (mean 53), referred for cardiac catheterization, plasma homocystine was measured before and 6 hours after an oral l-methionine load (0.1 g/kg). Thirty-nine subjects found to have normal coronary arteries had a mean post-load plasma homocystine level of 0.59 ± 0.37 iumol/liter. A criterion at the 95th percentile (1.64 SD above the mean) was selected and applied to the remaining 99 subjects with coronary artery disease (0.70 ± 0.68 μmol/liter). Sixteen (16%) of 99 subjects with coronary artery disease exceeded this level as compared with 1 (2%) of 39 subjects without coronary artery disease (p < 0.04). The risk of coronary artery disease in men with provokable methionine intolerance was increased sevenfold as estimated by the odds ratio. By correlation matrix and multivariate regression analyses, provokable homocystinemia was predictive of coronary artery disease and was independent of tobacco smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, serum cholesterol and age. It is proposed that men with mild methionine intolerance exposed to the high methionine content of the Western diet may develop intermittent homocystinemia and thus may be at greater risk for the development of coronary artery disease. © 1985, American College of Cardiology Foundation. All rights reserved.




Murphy-Chutorian, D. R., Wexman, M. P., Grieco, A. J., Heininger, J. A., Glassman, E., Gaull, G. E., … Fox, A. C. (1985). Methionine intolerance: A possible risk factor for coronary artery disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 6(4), 725–730.

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