In this study, we investigated the concentration of serum homocysteine (Hcy) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with the control group and the connection between homocysteine and parameters of inflammation and disease activity. Sixty RA patients and 20 healthy controls were included in the study, and clinical examination and investigation were performed during which disease activity was assessed. Peripheral blood samples were used for all of the assays. Levels of Hcy were 33% higher in the RA patients than in the control subjects (mean +/− SD 11.79±3.72 μmol/L versus 8.90±1.38 μmol/L; p< 0.01). A significant correlation was found between parameters of inflammation (C-reactive protein) and homocysteine in patients (r=0.322, p=0.012). Patients with high disease activity had a significantly greater increase in homocysteine (p<0.05). An increase in plasma homocysteine in RA patients is related to the parameters of inflammation and disease activity. Elevated Hcy levels occur commonly in patients with RA and may explain some of the increased cardiovascular mortality seen in RA patients.
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