Distribution and determinants of plasma homocysteine levels in rural Chinese twins across the lifespan

Yuelong Ji, Xiangyi Kong, Guoying Wang, Xiumei Hong, Xin Xu, Zhu Chen, Tami Bartell, Xiping Xu, Genfu Tang, Fanfan Hou, Yong Huo, Xiaobin Wang, Binyan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Plasma homocysteine (Hcy) is a modifiable, independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is affected by both environmental and genetic factors. This study aimed to describe the gender- and age-specific distribution of Hcy concentration for 1117 subjects aged 10–66 years, a subset of a community-based rural Chinese twin cohort. In addition, we examined environmental and genetic contributions to variances in Hcy concentration by gender and age groups. We found that the distribution pattern for Hcy varied by both age and gender. Males had higher Hcy than females across all ages. Elevated Hcy was found in 43% of male adults and 13% of female adults. Moreover, nearly one fifth of children had elevated Hcy. Genetic factors could explain 52%, 36% and 69% of the variation in Hcy concentration among children, male adults and female adults, respectively. The MTHFR C677T variant was significantly associated with Hcy concentrations. Smokers with the TT genotype had the highest Hcy levels. Overall, our results indicate that elevated Hcy is prevalent in the children and adults in this rural Chinese population. The early identification of elevated Hcy will offer a window of opportunity for the primary prevention of CVD and metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5900-5914
Number of pages15
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 18 2014


  • Chinese twins
  • Gender difference
  • Heritability
  • Homocysteine
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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