An increased prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia has been observed among patients with end-stage renal disease, and numerous studies have demonstrated that kidney function is one of the most important determinants of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentration. In an effort to understand the mechanism of hyperhomocysteinemia in renal disease, we chose, as our model, living kidney donors who had undergone uninephrectomy. We studied 10 living kidney donors and measured fasting plasma tHcy, plasma creatinine, folate, vitamins B12 and B6, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) 24 hours before nephrectomy and 2 days, 6 weeks, and 6 months after nephrectomy compared to the values 24 hours before nephrectomy. Mean fasting tHcy and creatinine concentrations were significantly higher in donors 2 days, 6 weeks and 6 months after nephrectomy they were 24 hours before nephrectomy. Both the increases in tHcy levels 2 days after nephrectomy and subsequent decreases 6 weeks and 6 months after are paralleled by the changes in plasma creatinine values, although neither returned to its presurgery value. Decreases in tHcy are significantly correlated with decreases in creatinine values. The B vitamins were unchanged, and the hsCRP level was increased 2 days after surgery but had returned to the baseline level after 6 weeks. We conclude that tHcy and creatinine levels parallel each other after uninephrectomy and that the gradual decrease in tHcy is accounted for by hypertrophy of the remaining kidney. Our results, the first to be obtained from living kidney donors, support the hypothesis that renal metabolism of tHcy is the mechanism responsible for the correlation between renal function and plasma tHcy level.
- glomerular filtration rate
- high-sensitivity C-reactive protein
- total homocysteine