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J Clin Lab Immunol. 1992;37(4):173-82.

Effects of methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) on in vitro cytokine production of peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Mie University School of Medicine, Japan.


Recently in Japan, one form of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin also known as methyl B12, has attracted the attention of physicians as a therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, its immunological actions in vivo are still unknown. In this study, we induced the in vitro production of such cytokines as interleukin-6 (IL-6), interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) by adding various mitogens (phytohemagglutinin:PHA, concanavalin A: ConA, or pokeweed mitogen:PWM) as well as recombinant interleukin-2, and we investigated the effects of methyl B12 (final concentration, 8-8,000 ng/ml) on the production of these cytokines by peripheral mononuclear cells. As compared to the controls, IL-6 production induced by PHA and ConA on Day 4 of the culture was suppressed by an average 60-70% when methyl B12 (80-8,000 ng/ml) was added to the medium. IFN-gamma production decreased dose-dependently with methyl B12, i.e., it decreased to 46% of the control when this production was induced by rIL-2, and decreased to 56-66% when it was induced by mitogens. The effect of methyl B12 on IL-1 beta production on Day I of the culture was small. These findings indicate that methyl B12 suppresses mainly the cytokine production of T lymphocytes. Such suppressive effects as shown in the in vitro situation are expected to be expressed also in vivo in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, especially at articulation lesion sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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