Author(s): Briddon A
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Abstract It is becoming increasingly clear that serum vitamin B12 (cobalamin) concentration is a dubious indicator of functional B12 status and, in contrast to long-standing convention, correlates poorly with haematological indices. This, in turn, has led to poorly defined reference intervals for serum B12. Patients presenting with neurological disturbance due to B12 deficiency are at risk of not being diagnosed if total reliance is placed on serum B12 levels and haematological parameters. Plasma homocysteine remethylation is uniquely placed at the metabolic end-point of B12 metabolism such that plasma total homocysteine is proving to be a sensitive marker of functional B12 status. Studies also show that plasma homocysteine correlates better with holotranscobalamin than serum B12. It is suggested that clinicians should cease to be guided by surrogate haematological markers when more specific tests of B12 deficiency, such as holotranscobalamin and total homocysteine, exist. These tests demand greater prevalence in routine diagnostic use.
This article was published in Amino Acids
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics