OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to compare plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) levels, a recognized cardiovascular risk factor, in nondiabetic subjects and type 1 diabetic patients, and to evaluate whether chronic cigarette smoking had a deleterious effect on plasma tHcy levels in type 1 diabetic patients. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Plasma tHcy concentrations were measured in 60 young type 1 diabetic patients without clinical evidence of macroangiopathy and in 30 healthy control subjects who were matched for age, sex, BMI, and smoking habit. RESULTS: Plasma tHcy levels were significantly higher in type 1 diabetic patients than in control subjects (12.5 +/- 4.8 vs. 10.3 +/- 2.2 micromol/l, P = 0.01). After stratification by smoking status, diabetic smokers had values for age, sex, BMI, lipids, creatinine, blood pressure, glycometabolic control, diabetes duration, and microvascular complications that were superimposable on their nonsmoking counterparts. Nevertheless, plasma tHcy levels were markedly elevated in diabetic smokers versus nonsmokers (15.5 +/- 5.7 vs. 10.6 +/- 3 pmol/l, P < 0.0001) in a dose-dependent fashion (P < 0.0001, by analysis of variance when subjects were categorized for the number of cigarettes smoked daily). CONCLUSIONS: Chronic cigarette smoking seems to adversely affect plasma tHcy levels in young adults with type 1 diabetes.

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