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J Nutr. 2012 Jul;142(7):1280-5. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.153056. Epub 2012 May 23.

Plasma pyridoxal-5-phosphate is inversely associated with systemic markers of inflammation in a population of U.S. adults.

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  • 1Vitamin Metabolism Laboratory, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.


Low vitamin B-6 status, based on plasma concentrations of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP), has been identified in inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes. Our objective was to examine the association between plasma PLP and multiple markers of inflammation in a community-based cohort [n = 2229 participants (55% women, mean age 61 ± 9 y)]. We created an overall inflammation score (IS) as the sum of standardized values of 13 individual inflammatory markers. Multivariable-adjusted regression analysis was used to assess the associations between the IS and plasma PLP. Geometric mean plasma PLP concentrations were lower in the highest tertile category of IS relative to the lowest (61 vs. 80 nmol/L; P-trend < 0.0001). Similarly, the prevalence of PLP insufficiency was significantly higher for participants in the highest compared with the lowest tertiles for IS categories. These relationships persisted after accounting for vitamin B-6 intake. Also, there were significant inverse relationships between plasma PLP and 4 IS based on functionally related markers, including acute phase reactants, cytokines, adhesion molecules, and oxidative stress. In addition, secondary analyses revealed that many of the individual inflammatory markers were inversely associated with plasma PLP after adjusting for plasma C-reactive protein concentration. This study, in combination with past findings, further supports our hypothesis that inflammation is associated with a functional deficiency of vitamin B-6. We discuss 2 possible roles for PLP in the inflammatory process, including tryptophan metabolism and serine hydroxymethyltransferase activity.

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