Total homocysteine, B-vitamins and genetic polymorphisms in patients with classical phenylketonuria

Martina Huemer, Manuela Födinger, Olaf A. Bodamer, Adolf Mühl, Marion Herle, Claudia Weigmann, Hanno Ulmer, Sylvia Stöckler-Ipsiroglu, Dorothea Möslinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Hyperhomocysteinemia has occasionally been reported in patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) and B-vitamin deficiency. In our study total homocysteine (tHcy) and B-vitamins were measured in treated PKU patients and healthy controls. In the patients, dietary parameters and genetic polymorphisms affecting the Hcy pathway were investigated to identify parameters modulating tHcy. A case control study including 37 PKU patients and 63 healthy controls was conducted. t-Tests for independent samples were used to test between groups. Multiple regressions with tHcy as dependent variable were calculated. Hardy-Weinberg expectations were tested against the observed distribution of genotypes applying the Chi-square goodness-of-fit method. THcy concentrations were not significantly different (p = 0.059) while folate and cobalamin (Cbl) concentrations were significantly higher in PKU patients compared to controls. However, 29.7% of patients had tHcy concentrations >97th centile. THcy did not vary with age nor correlate with folate and Cbl concentrations probably due to high saturatory levels. The presence of genetic polymorphisms had no impact on tHcy. In conclusion, in PKU patients treated with amino acid mixtures enriched with B-vitamins, tHcy is not significantly higher than in healthy controls, but tHcy concentrations exceed the 97th centile in about one third of patients. Even higher B-vitamin saturation may be required to further decrease tHcy concentrations and factors generally influencing tHcy such as betaine are to be investigated in PKU patients in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Folate
  • Genetic polymorphisms
  • Homocysteine
  • PKU

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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