To compare age at 1st ischaemic stroke (IS) in a cohort of juvenile (< 46 years of age) IS patients evaluated for the rs1801133 polymorphism (C -> T677) of the methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene; to identify predictors of age at IS and of type of cerebral vessel involvement, small vessel disease (SVD) vs large vessel disease (LVD) responsible for the IS; to evaluate possible associations between other clinical and laboratory variables. Retrospective cohort study on 82 MTHFR TT, 54 MTHFR TC and 34 MTHFR CC participants; data regarding age, sex, age at IS, history of dyslipidaemia, hypertension, smoking, migraine and homocysteine (HC) as well as neuroimaging were collected. Age at IS was lower in MTHFR TT than MTHFR TC and CC (35 +/- 4 vs 38 +/- 0 vs 40 +/- 3 years, respectively, p = 0.002); plasma HC (median, interquartile range) was higher in MTHFR TT than in the other groups [16.7 (11.8, 28.6) vs 11.4 (8.2, 16.1) vs 9.8 (7.9, 1.3) respectively, p < 0.0001)] and was higher in SVD than LVD [17.4 (12.4, 32.5) vs 11.4 (8.8, 16.4) p < 0.0001]. MTHFR TT independently predicted age at IS (p = 0.0008) alongside smoking both as a categorical (p = 0.003) or continuous variable (p = 0.02), whereas HC independently predicted SVD as categorical (p = 0.01) and continuous variable (p < 0.0001). Smoking positively predicted plasma HC (p = 0.005) and negatively the activated partial thromboplastin ratio (aPTTr) (p = 0.02). Juvenile IS carriers of the MTHFR TT genotype develop their 1st occlusion on average 5 years earlier compared to the CC genotype; smoking contributes to this prematurity adversely affecting plasma HC and coagulation whereas plasma HC predicts IS secondary to SVD. Public health campaigns against smoking should highlight the prematurity of IS in the juvenile population.
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