Hyperhomocysteinemia has recently been suggested to contribute to the progression of the so-called chronic rejection or cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) in heart-transplant patients in which the major determinant of the increase in homocysteine (Hcy) was the progressive decline of renal function. The exact mechanisms of tissue injury by Hcy is unknown, but some aspects of its toxicity have been related to its capacity for altering the redox state of plasma and forming protein adducts by intermediate lactone. To study the relationships between Hcy levels and variations in the redox state governed by thiols, plasma levels of Hcy, cysteine, glutathione, cysteinylglycine, and corresponding disulfides and protein-mixed disulfides were evaluated in subjects with moderate hyperhomocysteinemia represented by heart-transplant patients with (HTRF) and without (HT) renal failure, as well as patients with renal failure of different origin (RF), and compared with those of a control group (C) of normal subjects matched for age and sex. Plasma levels of Hcy and the corresponding protein mixed disulfides increased progressively in HTs, RFs, and HTRFs with respect to control. These changes were correlated with cysteine variations (as cystine and protein-mixed disulfides) but not with glutathione or cysteinylglycine that varied only as disulfides with a similar tendency. Moreover, an alteration in the plasma redox was evidenced by the decrease in thiol/disulfide ratios of cysteine, Hcy, and cysteinylglycine. In all groups, cysteine was directly correlated with Hcy but not with glutathione or cysteinylglycine, which in turn were correlated each other. Therefore levels of plasma cysteine were more linked to Hcy than to metabolism of glutathione. The clinical meaning of cysteine changes remains undefined and requires further study.