Homocysteine, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and risk of schizophrenia: A meta-analysis

J. W. Muntjewerff, R. S. Kahn, H. J. Blom, M. Den Heijer

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206 Scopus citations

Abstract

Elevated plasma homocysteine concentration has been suggested as a risk factor for schizophrenia, but the results of epidemiological studies have been inconsistent. The most extensively studied genetic variant in the homocysteine metabolism is the 677C > T polymorphism in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene, resulting in reduced enzyme activity and, subsequently, in elevated homocysteine. A meta-analysis of eight retrospective studies (812 cases and 2113 control subjects) was carried out to examine the association between homocysteine and schizophrenia. In addition, a meta-analysis of 10 studies (2265 cases and 2721 control subjects) on the homozygous (TT) genotype of the MTHFR 677C > T polymorphism was carried out to assess if this association is causal. A 5 μmol/l higher homocysteine level was associated with a 70% (95% confidence interval, CI: 27-129) higher risk of schizophrenia. The TT genotype was associated with a 36% (95% CI: 7-72) higher risk of schizophrenia compared to the CC genotype. The performed meta-analyses showed no evidence of publication bias or excessive influence attributable to any given study. In conclusion, our study provides evidence for an association of homocysteine with schizophrenia. The elevated risk of schizophrenia associated with the homozygous genotype of the MTHFR 677C > T polymorphism provides support for causality between a disturbed homocysteine metabolism and risk of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Folate
  • Genetics
  • Homocysteine
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Psychiatric disorder
  • Schizophrenia

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