Review: Homocysteine in Bone Remodeling


The role of homocysteine in bone remodeling.

Bone remodeling is a very complex process. Homocysteine (Hcy) is known to modulate this process via several known mechanisms such as increase in osteoclast activity, decrease in osteoblast activity and direct action of Hcy on bone matrix. Evidence from previous studies further support a detrimental effect on bone via decrease in bone blood flow and an increase in matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that degrade extracellular bone matrix. Hcy binds directly to extracellular matrix and reduces bone strength. There are several bone markers that can be used as parameters to determine how high levels of plasma Hcy (hyperhomocysteinemia, HHcy) affect bone such as: hydroxyproline, N-terminal collagen 1 telopeptides. Mitochondrion serves an important role in generating reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondrial abnormalities have been identified during HHcy. The mechanism of Hcy-induced bone remodeling via the mitochondrial pathway is largely unknown. Therefore, we propose a mitochondrial mechanism by which Hcy can contribute to alter bone properties. This may occur both through generations of ROS that activate MMPs and could be extruded into matrix to degrade bone matrix. However, there are contrasting reports on whether Hcy affects bone density, with some reports in favour and others not. Earlier studies also found an alteration in bone biomechanical properties with deficiencies of vitamin B12, folate and HHcy conditions. Moreover, existing data opens speculation that folate and vitamin therapy act not only via Hcy-dependent pathways but also via Hcy-independent pathways. However, more studies are needed to clarify the mechanistic role of Hcy during bone diseases.

Vacek TP, Kalani A, Voor MJ, Tyagi SC…
Clin. Chem. Lab. Med. Mar 2013
PMID: 23449525