Plasma cotinine is positively associated with homocysteine in smokers but not in users of smokeless tobacco
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 2021, 18 (21), 11365. 10.3390/ijerph182111365
Plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is a risk marker, and smoking is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is unclear if the effect of smoked tobacco on homocysteine is mediated by nicotine or other combustion products in smoked tobacco. Snus (moist smokeless tobacco) is high nicotine-containing tobacco, and little is known about the effect of snus on plasma homocysteine. Therefore, we studied, in a cross-section of subjects (n = 1375) from the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study, with strictly defined current smokers (n = 194) and snus users (n = 47), the impact of tobacco exposure on tHcy, assessed by self-reported tobacco habits and plasma cotinine concentrations. The snus users had higher cotinine concentrations than the smokers. Cotinine, creatinine, methylmalonic acid, and the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase genotype (MTHFR) T allele were positively associated with tHcy among the smokers, but not among the snus users. No association was observed between tHcy and the number of cigarettes/day. There was a positive association between cotinine and tHcy in the smokers, but not among the snus users. This indicates that substances other than nicotine in tobacco smoke could be responsible for the differential effects on homocysteine status. Self-reported smoking should be complemented by a cotinine assay whenever possible.