Could genetic analysis be useful in reducing cerebrovascular risk in hypertensive subjects with hyperhomocysteinemia and patent foramen ovale? A 2-year follow-up study.
OBJECTIVES: Potential causes of cryptogenic cerebrovascular (CV) events are patent foramen ovale (PFO) and hyper homocysteinemia (H-Hcys), this latter a well-established risk factor for thrombosis particularly in the presence of mutation for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene. This study investigated if in uncomplicated hypertensive subjects (HTs) with isolated PFO and H-Hcys, a different MTHFR polymorphism pattern for C667→T gene mutation could influence PFO management and to reduce the CV risk. METHODS: In thirty-two HTs aged 55.6±14.4years, PFO was diagnosed by echocardiography. MTHFR genotype was evaluated by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction with reverse line blot hybridization assay. In relation to the T allele distribution, HTs were divided in normal (CC), heterozygote (CT) and homozygote (TT) for the MTHFR genotype. All subjects received a supplementation of oral folate (5mg daily) and were evaluated yearly for 2years. Analysis of variance for repeated measures (ANOVA) was used to compare changes of Hcys at baseline and at the end of follow-up and differences between continuous variables were evaluated in the three MTHFR groups with the Tukey's post hoc test after adjustment for confounders. RESULTS: At the follow-up, Hcys levels significantly normalized from baseline both in TT (38.1±6.7 vs. 15±3.6, p<0.01) and CT (26.6±2.3 vs. 9.2±1.6, p<0.01) but not in CC subjects (18.2±1.8 vs. 16.0±1.6, NS). Independently of age, BMI, vitamin treatment both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) significantly decrease at the follow-up in all the MTHFR genotypes. No CV events were observed during the follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: In HTs with isolated PFO and H-Hcys, oral folate supplementation reduces Hcys levels both in TT and CT subjects with C667→T mutation of MTHFR. In addition the BP normalization probably contributed to reduce CV risk in these genotypes.