Homocysteine, a metabolite from methionine breakdown, can have detrimental effects to multiple systems in the human body. Methionine is naturally acquired from diet and if too much is consumed, as in diets with high red meats, the metabolic system becomes overloaded leading to elevated blood levels of homocysteine. This condition is called hyperhomocystemia (Hcy). Hyperhomocystemia is also related to aging and several genetic factors which ensure its proper regulation. More importantly, hyperhomocystemia has been shown as a risk factor to numerous disease states including cardiovascular disease and in neuropsychiatric illness. With respect to cardiovascular pathology, it has been found from the results of 80 clinical studies which sampled around 10,000 patients that elevated levels of homocysteine is linked with increased cardiovascular mortality rates. Along with Hcy’s effect on the cardiovascular system it has also been shown to induce neurological disorders in the form of neural tube defects, mental disorders, and cognitive impairment. From the literature I will explain plausible routes that Hcy affects vascular function and from data acquired during research conducted at the University of Louisville I will show it’s implication in memory impairment. The data also includes the possible treatment of sodium hydrogen sulfide to alleviate Hcy’s neurological effects.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2013


Martin L. Brock

Department/Professional Affiliation


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Honors Scholars