The Effects of Homocysteine Level in the Critically Ill Patient. A Review

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Abstract

Increased levels of homocysteine (HCYS) represent a risk factor for a series of physiopathological conditions: mental retardation, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, depression, osteoporosis, endothelial dysfunction and inhibition of cell proliferation. This paper aims to present the pathophysiological implications of HCYS and the correlation of hyperhomocysteinemia (H-HCYS) with critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU). Hypovitaminosis B and folate deficiency is directly involved in the inhibition of HCYS metabolism and the accumulation of HCYS in the plasma and tissues. Critically ill patients are more prone to H-HCYS due to hypermetabolism and accelerated synthesis produced by reactive oxygen species (ROS). In conclusion it can be affirmed that the determination and monitoring of HCYS plasma levels may be of interest in optimizing the therapy for critically ill patients. Moreover, by controlling HCYS levels, and implicitly the essential cofactors that intervene in the specific biochemical pathways, such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid can provide a diversified and personalized treatment for each patient.

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