Folate and Homocysteine Metabolism: Therapeutic Targets in Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Disorders
Mark P. Mattson and Frank Haberman
Affiliation: Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging Gerontology Research Center,5600 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224 USA.
Individuals with elevated homocysteine levels are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases Homocysteine is a modified form of the amino acid methionine that is tightly regulated by enzymes requiring folate. By impairing DNA repair mechanisms and inducing oxidative stress, homocysteine can cause the dysfunction or death of cells in the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Dietary folate stimulates homocysteine removal and may thereby protect cells against disease processes. The enzymes involved in homocysteine and folate metabolism provide novel targets for drug discovery.
Keywords: apoptosis, atherosclerosis, dietary folic acid, schizophrenia, stem cells
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