Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Chem. 2000 Aug;46(8 Pt 2):1277-83.

Cobalamin and folate evaluation: measurement of methylmalonic acid and homocysteine vs vitamin B(12) and folate.

Author information

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. klee.george@mayo.edu

Abstract

Vitamin B(12) and folate are two vitamins that have interdependent roles in nucleic acid synthesis. Deficiencies of either vitamin can cause megaloblastic anemia; however, inappropriate treatment of B(12) deficiency with folate can cause irreversible nerve degeneration. Inadequate folate nutrition during early pregnancy can cause neural tube defects in the developing fetus. In addition, folate and vitamin B(12) deficiency and the compensatory increase in homocysteine are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Laboratory support for the diagnosis and management of these multiple clinical entities is controversial and somewhat problematic. Automated ligand binding measurements of vitamin B(12) and folate are easiest to perform and widely used. Unfortunately, these tests are not the most sensitive indicators of disease. Measurement of red cell folate is less dependent on dietary fluctuations, but these measurements may not be reliable. Homocysteine and methylmalonic acid are better metabolic indicators of deficiencies at the tissue level. There are no "gold standards" for the diagnosis of these disorders, and controversy exists regarding the best diagnostic approach. Healthcare strategies that consider the impact of laboratory tests on the overall costs and quality of care should consider the advantages of including methylmalonic acid and homocysteine in the early evaluation of patients with suspected deficiencies of vitamin B(12) and folate.

PMID:
10926922
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center