Plasma Sulfur Amino Acids and Risk of Cerebrovascular Diseases: A Nested Case-Control Study in the EPIC-Norfolk Cohort.
Stroke 2020 ; 52: 172-180.
PubMed ID : 33349021
B-vitamin supplements lower circulating concentrations of homocysteine and may reduce stroke incidence. Homocysteine concentrations are associated with the incidence of stroke but other sulfur-containing compounds in the related metabolic pathway have not yet been investigated for an association with incident cerebrovascular diseases.
Nested within the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition)-Norfolk cohort, we established a case-control study with 480 incident cases of cerebrovascular diseases and 480 controls matched by age, sex, and year of baseline examination (1993-1997). Using baseline plasma samples, we assayed sulfur-containing compounds including methionine, homocysteine, cystathionine, cysteine, glutathione, and taurine with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We examined the association of concentrations of each of the compounds and the ratio of methionine to homocysteine (representing activity of one-carbon metabolism) with risk of incident cerebrovascular diseases, adjusted for potential confounders.
Plasma methionine and the methionine/homocysteine ratio were inversely associated with risk of cerebrovascular diseases, with odds ratios per 1 SD of 0.83 (95% CI, 0.72-0.96) and 0.82 (95% CI, 0.71-0.95), respectively. The association of methionine remained significant after adjustment for homocysteine. None of the other examined compounds was significantly associated with incident cerebrovascular diseases.
These findings suggest that greater availability of methionine, an essential amino acid, may play a role in the prevention of cerebrovascular diseases and explain the previously recognized link between elevated homocysteine and stroke. Further research is needed to determine causation and the potential of circulating methionine as a target in cerebrovascular disease prevention.