Homocysteine, folic acid and vitamin B12 levels in serum of epileptic children
The relationship between increased homocysteine (Hcy) level and epileptic seizure remains controversial in human, despite a growing evidence of the pro-convulsive effect of the hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy) observed in the animal studies. The mechanism of this association with epileptogenesis has not been clearly understood, although there is emerging evidence to support the unfavorable effects of some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) on the plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations. The aim of this study was to uncover the relationship between the levels of homocysteine (Hcy), the cofactors involved in its metabolism as folic acid and vitamin B12 and anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) in epileptic patients. Serum level of homocysteine (Hcy), folic acid and vitamin B12 was measured in 60 patients with idiopathic epilepsy; and its level was compared to 30 healthy children serving as control group. No significant difference was found regarding the plasma homocysteine (Hcy) levels between patients (both receiving anti-epileptics and non anti-epileptic drug users) and controls. Epileptic patients on polytherapy showed higher mean serum levels of homocysteine (Hcy) and lower mean serum levels of folic acid compared to those on monotherapy. However, the mean serum levels of homocysteine (Hcy), vitamin B12 and folic acid showed non significant differences between patients using valproic acid (VPA) or carbamazepine (CBZ). Duration of AED therapy showed a significant positive correlation with mean serum levels of homocysteine (Hcy) and a significant negative correlation with mean serum levels of folic acid. To conclude; AEDs upset the homeostatic balance of homocysteine (Hcy) and its cofactors and cause abnormalities in their serum levels.
Keywords: Homocysteine; Epilepsy; Folic acid; Vitamin B12; Anti-epileptic drug