Polymorphisms in MTHFR, MS and CBS genes and homocysteine levels in a Pakistani population.

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Background: Hyperhomocysteinemia (>15 mol/L) is highly prevalent in South Asian populations including Pakistan. In order to investigate the genetic determinants of this condition, we studied 6 polymorphisms in genes of 3 enzymes--methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR, C677T, A1298C), methionine synthase (MS, A2756G), cystathionine-beta-synthase (CBS, T833C/844ins68, G919A) involved in homocysteine metabolism and investigated their interactions with nutritional and environmental factors in a Pakistani population. Methodology/Principal Findings: In a cross-sectional survey, 872 healthy adults (355 males and 517 females, age 18-60 years) were recruited from a low-income urban population in Karachi. Fasting venous blood was obtained and assessed for plasma/serum homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12, pyridoxal phosphate and blood lead. DNA was isolated and genotyping was performed by PCR-RFLP (restriction-fragment-length-polymorphism) based assays. The average changes in homocysteine levels for MTHFR 677CT and TT genotypes were positive [beta(SE beta), 2.01(0.63) and 16.19(1.8) mol/L, respectively]. Contrary to MTHFR C677T polymorphism, the average changes in plasma homocysteine levels for MS 2756AG and GG variants were negative [beta(SE beta), -0.56(0.58) and -0.83(0.99) mol/L, respectively]. The average change occurring for CBS 844ins68 heterozygous genotype (ancestral/insertion) was -1.88(0.81) mol/L. The combined effect of MTHFR C677T, MS A2756G and CBS 844ins68 genotypes for plasma homocysteine levels was additive (p value


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