Elevated plasma homocysteine levels and risk of silent brain infarction in elderly people

Toshifumi Matsui, Hiroyuki Arai, Takefumi Yuzuriha, Hiroshi Yao, Masakazu Miura, Setsuko Hashimoto, Susumu Higuchi, Sachio Matsushita, Masatoshi Morikawa, Atsushi Kato, Hidetada Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose - Silent brain infarction (SBI) on MRI is common in elderly people, and recent studies have demonstrated that SBI increases the risk of progression to clinically apparent stroke and cognitive decline. Therefore, an early and accurate detection of SBI and a search for potential treatable risk factors may have a significant impact on public health. Methods - Community-dwelling elderly people aged ≥66 years who participated in the present study (n=153) underwent brain MRI and standardized physical and neuropsychological examinations as well as blood biochemistry determinations, including total plasma homocysteine (pHcy), renal function, vitamin status, and polymorphisms of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene. Results - SBI was found in 24.8% of the participants. In the univariate analysis, the pHcy levels in subjects with SBI (13.6 ±4.1 μmol/L) were significantly higher (P=0.0004) than those in subjects without SBI (11.0±3.3 μ/mol/L). When pHcy levels were stratified into high (≥15.1 mmol/L), moderate (11.6 to 15.0 mmol/L), and low (≥11.5 mmol/L) groups, age (P<0.0001), male sex (P<0.0001), the habits of cigarette smoking (P<0.0001) and of alcohol consumption (P=0.0002), and folate levels (P=0.01) were significantly associated with an elevation of pHcy levels. The elevated pHcy levels were significantly associated with SBI after individual adjustment for age, sex, hypertension, renal function, and the habits of smoking and alcohol consumption. Conclusions - pHcy level is associated with age and nutritiorial and other lifestyle factors, and it contributes to a risk for SBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1119
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Homocyst(e)ine
  • Lacunar infarction
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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