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      Cellular Uptake of Vitamin B 12 in Patients with Chronic Renal Failure

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          Background/Aims: Elevated concentration of plasma homocysteine (tHcy) is common in renal patients, however, the reason behind the resistance to vitamin B<sub>12</sub> and folate therapy are poorly understood. Methods: We investigated vitamin B<sub>12</sub> uptake by mononuclear cells (MC) from predialysis patients (n = 19) as compared to healthy controls (n = 15). Serum levels of tHcy, methylmalonic acid and cystathionine, holotranscobalamin (holoTC), total vitamin B<sub>12</sub> and folate were also measured. Results: The uptake of vitamin B<sub>12</sub> by MC from renal patients was lower than that by MC from controls (9.3 vs. 12.5 pg/3 × 10<sup>6</sup> cells; p = 0.001). Nonetheless, the receptor-binding capacity was comparable between patients and controls (6.1 vs. 6.5 pg/3 × 10<sup>6</sup> cells; p = 0.627). Average reduction of vitamin B<sub>12</sub> uptake in patients as compared to the controls was 18.1%. Conclusions: Our results show that vitamin B<sub>12</sub> uptake is impaired in MC from renal patients, with no evidence that the surface receptor is down-regulated. High serum concentrations of holoTC are common in renal patients and might be related to a generalized resistance to this vitamin. Serum concentrations of vitamin B<sub>12</sub> within the reference range are not likely to ensure vitamin delivery into the cells. Supraphysiological doses of vitamin B<sub>12</sub> may be necessary to deliver a sufficient amount of the vitamins to the cells via mechanisms largely independent of holoTC receptor.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Functional vitamin B12 deficiency and determination of holotranscobalamin in populations at risk.

          The prevalence of a sub-clinical functional vitamin B12 deficiency in the general population is higher than previously expected. Total serum vitamin B12 may not reliably indicate vitamin B12 status. To get more specificity and sensitivity in diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, the concept of measuring holotranscobalamin II (holoTC), a sub-fraction of vitamin B12, has aroused great interest. HoloTC as a biologically active vitamin B12 fraction promotes a specific uptake of its vitamin B12 by all cells. In this study we investigated the diagnostic value of storage (holoTC) of vitamin B12 and functional markers (methylmalonic acid (MMA)) of vitamin B12 metabolism in populations who are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Our study included 93 omnivorous German controls, 111 German and Dutch vegetarian subjects, 122 Syrian apparently healthy subjects, 127 elderly Germans and finally 92 German pre-dialysis renal patients. Serum concentrations of homocysteine (Hcy) and MMA were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, folate and vitamin B12 by chemiluminescence immunoassay, and holoTC by utilizing a RIA test. High Hcy (>12 micromol/l), high MMA (>271 nmol/l) resp. low holoTC (vitamin B12) in serum were detected in 15%, 8% resp. 13% (1%) of German controls, 36%, 60%, resp. 72% (30%) of vegetarians, 42%, 48% resp. 50% (6%) of Syrians, 75%, 42%, resp. 21% (7%) of elderly subjects and 75%, 67% resp. 4% (2%) of renal patients. The lowest median levels of holoTC were observed in vegetarians, followed by the Syrian subjects (23 and 35 pmol/l, respectively). Renal patients had significantly higher levels of holoTC compared to the German controls (74 vs. 54 pmol/l). In the vitamin B12 range between 156 pmol/l (conventional cut-off level) and 241 pmol/l, both mean concentrations of holoTC and MMA were in the pathological range. HoloTC was the earliest marker for vitamin B12 deficiency followed by MMA. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes folate trapping. A higher folate level is required to keep Hcy normal. The relationship between MMA and holoTC seemed dependent on renal function. In renal patients with a glomerular filtration rate below 36 ml/min, a significantly lower mean level of MMA was detected within the highest tertile of holoTC concentration, compared to the lowest tertile. Thus, in renal patients, a higher serum concentration of circulating holoTC is required to deliver sufficient amounts of holoTC into the cells. Our data support the concept that the measurement of holoTC and MMA provides a better index of cobalamin status than the measurement of total vitamin B12. HoloTC is the most sensitive marker, followed by MMA. The use of holoTC and MMA enables us to differentiate between storage depletion and functional vitamin B12 deficiency. Renal patients have a higher requirement of circulating holoTC. In renal dysfunction, holoTC cannot be used as a marker of vitamin B12 status.
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            Kinetic basis of hyperhomocysteinemia in patients with chronic renal failure.

            We investigated the elimination of total homocysteine (tHcy) from plasma after peroral homocysteine (Hcy) loading in eight patients with chronic renal failure. Data on bioavailability and distribution volume were obtained from two patients and two healthy controls by performing both intravenous and peroral Hcy loading. Response to high-dose folic acid was studied in six cases. Mean (SD) basal plasma tHcy was 27.4 (11.0) microM at inclusion. The half-life and the area under the curve were about four times higher, and clearance was reduced to 29.8% compared to controls. High-dose folic acid had no influence on half-life for tHcy, but the basal tHcy level declined by 26.8%. The reduction in tHcy was particularly pronounced in three patients with low-normal serum folate, and the enhanced methionine response to Hcy loading after folic acid suggested improved Hcy remethylation in tissues. In conclusion, patients with renal failure had markedly reduced clearance of tHcy from plasma, which probably accounts for their hyperhomocysteinemia. High-dose folic acid reduces fasting tHcy by improving tissue Hcy remethylation without affecting the low renal clearance of tHcy.
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              Homocysteine and methionine metabolism in ESRD: A stable isotope study.

              Hyperhomocysteinemia has a high prevalence in the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) population, which may contribute to the high cardiovascular risk in these patients. The cause of hyperhomocysteinemia in renal failure is unknown, and therapies have not been able to normalize plasma homocysteine levels. Insight into methionine-homocysteine metabolism in ESRD is therefore necessary. Using a primed, continuous infusion of [2H3-methyl-1-13C]methionine, we measured whole body rates of methionine and homocysteine metabolism in the fasting state in four hyperhomocysteinemic hemodialysis patients and six healthy control subjects. Remethylation of homocysteine was significantly decreased in the hemodialysis patients: 2.6+/-0.2 (SEM) vs. 3.8+/-0.3 micromol. kg(-1)x hr(-1) in the control subjects (P = 0.03), whereas transsulfuration was not 2.5+/-0.3 vs. 3.0+/-0.1 micromol. kg(-1) x hr(-1) (P = 0.11). The transmethylation rate was proportionally and significantly lower in the ESRD patients as compared with controls: 5.2+/-0.4 vs. 6.8+/-0.3 micromol. kg(-1) x hr(-1) (P = 0.02). Methionine fluxes to and from body protein were similar. The conversion of homocysteine to methionine is substantially (approximately 30%) decreased in hemodialysis patients, whereas transsulfuration is not. Decreased remethylation may explain hyperhomocysteinemia in ESRD. This stable isotope technique is applicable for developing new and effective homocysteine-lowering treatment regimens in ESRD based on pathophysiological mechanisms.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Clin Pract
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                February 2005
                14 January 2005
                : 99
                : 2
                : c42-c48
                aDepartment of Clinical Chemistry, Central Laboratory; bDepartment of Nephrology and Hypertension, and cDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, Saarland University Hospital, Homburg, Germany
                83132 Nephron Clin Pract 2005;99:c42–c48
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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