We evaluated the relevance of plasma homocysteine (HC) and the TT genotype of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T polymorphism (rs1801133) in sickle cell disease (SCD) and associated vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) and ischemic stroke (IS). We identified in Embase and Medline 22 studies on plasma HC and 22 on MTHFR genotypes. Due to age-related HC differences, adult and paediatric SCD were separated: 879 adult SCD and 834 controls (CTR) yielded a neutral effect size; 427 paediatric SCD and 625 CTR favoured SCD (p = 0.001) with wide heterogeneity (I2 = 95.5%) and were sub-grouped by country: six studies (Dutch Antilles n = 1, USA n = 5) yielded a neutral effect size, four (India n = 1, Arab countries n = 3) favoured SCD (p < 0.0001). Moreover, 249 SCD in VOC and 419 out of VOC yielded a neutral effect size. The pooled prevalence of the MTHFR TT genotype in 267 SCD equalled that of 1199 CTR (4.26% vs. 2.86%, p = 0.45), and in 84 SCD with IS equalled that of 86 without IS (5.9% vs. 3.7%, p = 0.47); removal of one paediatric study yielded a significant effect size (p = 0.006). Plasma HC in paediatric SCD from Middle East and India was higher, possibly due to vitamin deficiencies. Despite its low prevalence in SCD, the MTHFR TT genotype relates to adult IS.
- ischemic stroke
- methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
- MTHFR TT genotype
- sickle cell disease
- vaso-occlusive crisis