Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

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Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2010), 69:156-165 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2009

Research Article

Postgraduate Symposium The MTHFR C677T polymorphism, B-vitamins and blood pressure

Conference on ‘Over- and undernutrition: challenges and approaches’

on 30 June–2 July 2009, The Summer Meeting of the Nutrition Society, was held at the University of Surrey, Guildford.

C. P. Wilsona1, H. McNultya1, J. M. Scotta2, J. J. Straina1 and M. Warda1 c1

a1 Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK
a2 School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Article author query
wilson cp [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
mcnulty h [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
scott jm [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
strain jj [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
ward m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


High blood pressure (BP) and elevated homocysteine are reported as independent risk factors for CVD and stroke in particular. The main genetic determinant of homocysteine concentrations is homozygosity (TT genotype) for the C677T polymorphism in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene, typically found in approximately 10% of Western populations. The B-vitamins folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 are the main nutritional determinants of homocysteine, with riboflavin more recently identified as a potent modulator specifically in individuals with the TT genotype. Although observational studies have reported associations between homocysteine and BP, B-vitamin intervention studies have shown little or no BP response despite decreases in homocysteine. Such studies, however, have not considered the MTHFR C677T polymorphism, which has been shown to be associated with BP. It has been shown for the first time that riboflavin is an important determinant of BP specifically in individuals with the TT genotype. Research generally suggests that 24 h ambulatory BP monitoring provides a more accurate measure of BP than casual measurements and its use in future studies may also provide important insights into the relationship between the MTHFR polymorphism and BP. Further research is also required to investigate the association between specific B-vitamins and BP in individuals with different MTHFR genotypes in order to confirm whether any genetic predisposition to hypertension is correctable by B-vitamin intervention. The present review will investigate the evidence linking the MTHFR C677T polymorphism to BP and the potential modulating role of B-vitamins.

(Online publication December 03 2009)

Key Words:MTHFR C677T polymorphism; B-vitamins; Homocysteine; Blood pressure


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Mary Ward, fax +44 28 70324375, email