The relationship between the concentration of plasma homocysteine and chronic kidney disease: a cross sectional study of a large cohort



High concentrations of homocysteine are considered a risk factor for developing atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. The aim of this study was to assess the concentrations of homocysteine in subjects with chronic kidney disease (CKD).


Data were collected from medical records of individuals examined at a screening center in Israel between the years 2000–2014. Cross sectional analysis was carried out on 17,010 subjects; 67% were men.


Significant differences were observed between four quartiles of homocysteine concentrations and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)—the higher the homocysteine concentration, the lower the eGFR (p < 0.0001). In subjects with CKD, homocysteine plasma levels were correlated with the stage of renal impairment. Mean (SD) homocysteine concentrations in subjects with eGFR < 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2 compared to subjects with eGFR ≥ 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2 were: 16.3 (5.9) vs. 11.5 (5.5) μmol/L respectively. These findings remained significant after adjustment for age, smoking status, body mass index, hypertension and diabetes mellitus (p < 0.0001). Compared to subjects with homocysteine concentrations less than 15 μmol/L, those with homocysteine concentrations equal and above 15 μmol/L, had a significantly higher odds ratio (95% CI) of having an eGFR < 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2; non adjusted model, 8.30 (6.17–11.16); adjusted model for age smoking status, body mass index, hypertension and diabetes mellitus, 7.43 (5.41–10.21).


Plasma homocysteine concentrations are higher in subjects with CKD. This may contribute to an increased risk for developing atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease in these patients.