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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(11):5333-8.

Vitamin B6 deficiency, genome instability and cancer.

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School of Life Sciences, The Engineering Research Center of Sustainable Development and Utilization of Biomass Energy, Ministry of Education, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China.


Vitamin B6 functions as a coenzyme in >140 enzymatic reactions involved in the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, neurotransmitters, and lipids. It comprises a group of three related 3-hydroxy-2-methyl-pyrimidine derivatives: pyridoxine (PN), pyridoxal (PL), pyridoxamine (PM) and their phosphorylated derivatives [pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) and pyridoxamine 5'-phosphate (PMP)], In the folate metabolism pathway, PLP is a cofactor for the mitochondrial and cytoplasmic isozymes of serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT2 and SHMT1), the P-protein of the glycine cleavage system, cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) and γ-cystathionase, and betaine hydroxymethyltransferase (BHMT), all of which contribute to homocysteine metabolism either through folate- mediated one-carbon metabolism or the transsulfuration pathway. Folate cofactors carry and chemically activate single carbons for the synthesis of purines, thymidylate and methionine. So the evidence indicates that vitamin B6 plays an important role in maintenance of the genome, epigenetic stability and homocysteine metabolism. This article focuses on studies of strand breaks, micronuclei, or chromosomal aberrations regarding protective effects of vitamin B6, and probes whether it is folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism or the transsulfuration pathway for vitamin B6 which plays critical roles in prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

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