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Objective

Homocysteine has been linked to atherosclerosis and hypertension (HT) in the general population. However, there is limited evidence regarding the effect of homocysteine on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We examined whether homocysteine is associated with HT and arterial stiffness in women with SLE.

Methods

In total, 99 women with SLE without a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus and 101 matched controls were included in this cross-sectional study. Participants were analyzed for homocysteine levels, cardiovascular risk factors, and arterial stiffness assessed by means of carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV). Associations between homocysteine, systolic blood pressure (SBP), PWV, and HT were tested using univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results

Homocysteine levels (mean ± SD 12.3 ± 4.8 versus 9.3 ± 3.8 μmoles/liter), PWV (mean ± SD 7.54 ± 1.1 versus 7.10 ± 1.1 meters/second), SBP (mean ± SD 119 ± 13 versus 115 ± 12 mm Hg), and the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia (23% versus 7%) and HT (43% versus 12%) were significantly higher in women with SLE (P < 0.050 for all). In the univariate analysis, homocysteine correlated positively with SBP (P = 0.001) and PWV (P = 0.023) in women with SLE but not in controls. In the multiple linear regression analysis, SBP was independently associated with homocysteine and body mass index (BMI) in women with SLE. Similarly, in the multivariate logistic regression analysis, homocysteine levels (or hyperhomocysteinemia), BMI, and daily prednisone dose were independently associated with HT in women with SLE.

Conclusion

Homocysteine was independently associated with SBP and HT in women with SLE, but not in controls. Elevated homocysteine levels could increase the risk of HT in SLE.