How to diagnose cobalamin deficiency.
Nexø E,Hansen M,Rasmussen K,Lindgren A,Gräsbeck R
Scandinavian journal of clinical and laboratory investigation. Supplementum
Cobalamin deficiency must be suspected in all patients with unexplained neuropsychiatric symptoms or unexplained anemia. Special attention should be paid to patients at risk of developing cobalamin deficiency such as elderly people, vegetarians, HIV-infected patients, patients with gastrointestinal diseases and patients with autoimmunity or a family history of pernicious anemia. The assays aimed to answer the question: does this patient suffer from cobalamin deficiency, include analysis of P--cobalamins and analyses of the metabolites that accumulate upon cellular cobalamin deficiency, P--methylmalonate and P--homocysteine. P--cobalamins or especially a fraction of P--cobalamins, P--TC cobalamins are markers for latent cobalamin deficiency. An increased concentration of P--methylmalonate that decreases upon injection of cobalamin indicates overt metabolic cobalamin deficiency. The same holds for P--homocysteine but this analysis is less specific than P--methylmalonate. We suggest that either assay of P--cobalamins or P--methylmalonate is employed as screening test for cobalamin deficiency, and that further tests are performed only if the initial test in combination with the clinical picture gives an unclear answer. Once cobalamin deficiency has been diagnosed, the cause for the deficiency should be sought and the patient should be treated for life. Cobalamin absorption tests such as the Schilling test are considered of limited use. Gastric atrophy is likely to be present in patients with increased P--gastrin or decreased P--pepsinogen A. However, this condition can be diagnosed also by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
Nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency in a breast-fed infant of a vegan-diet mother.
A 7-month-old male presented with lethargy and failure to thrive. The child was exclusively breast-fed from birth by a mother who was a strict vegetarian. Laboratory data revealed macrocytic anemia and methylmalonic acid in the urine, consistent with vitamin B12 deficient anemia. The patient responded well to supplementation with B12 alone and was developmentally normal by 11 months of age. This study emphasizes the need for assuring maternal dietary adequacy during pregnancy and after birth.
[Psychiatric manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency: a case report].
Durand C,Mary S,Brazo P,Dollfus S
Psychiatric manifestations are frequently associated with pernicious anemia including depression, mania, psychosis, dementia. We report a case of a patient with vitamin B12 deficiency, who has presented severe depression with delusion and Capgras' syndrome, delusion with lability of mood and hypomania successively, during a period of two Months. Case report - Mme V., a 64-Year-old woman, was admitted to the hospital because of confusion. She had no history of psychiatric problems. She had history of diabetes, hypertension and femoral prosthesis. The red blood count revealed a normocytosis with anemia (hemoglobin=11,4 g/dl). At admission she was uncooperative, disoriented in time and presented memory and attention impairment and sleep disorders. She seemed sad and older than her real age. Facial expression and spontaneous movements were reduced, her speech and movements were very slow. She had depressed mood, guilt complex, incurability and devaluation impressions. She had a Capgras' syndrome and delusion of persecution. Her neurologic examination, cerebral scanner and EEG were postponed because of uncooperation. Further investigations confirmed anemia (hemoglobin=11,4 g/dl) and revealed vitamin B12 deficiency (52 pmol/l) and normal folate level. Antibodies to parietal cells were positive in the serum and antibodies to intrinsic factor were negative. An iron deficiency was associated (serum iron=7 micromol/l; serum ferritin concentration=24 mg/l; serum transferrin concentration=3,16 g/l). This association explained normocytocis anemia. Thyroid function, hepatic and renal tests, glycemia, TP, TCA, VS, VDRL-TPHA were normal. Vitamin B12 replacement therapy was started with hydroxycobalamin 1 000 ng/day im for 10 days and iron replacement therapy. Her mental state improved dramatically within a few days. After one week of treatment the only remaining symptoms were lability of mood, delusion of persecution, Capgras' syndrome but disappeared totally 9 days after the beginning of the treatment. A neurologic examination was possible because of cooperation. All the tendon reflexes of inferior members were absent. The plantars were in flexion and there was a left inferior member hypoesthesia. The cerebral scan and EEG were normal. Fundic biopsy, realized by fibroscopy, revealed fundic atrophia and intestinal metaplasia compatible with Biermers' disease. The iron deficiency exploration concluded diet deficiency. Mme V. appeared euphoric, her speech was very rapid with play on words and overactivity. This hypomania state totally disappeared 3 days after. Six Months after her hospitalisation, she presented an hypothyroidism (TSH=3,780; T3=1,35; T4=1,08). A thyroid hormones replacement was started and she continued to receive Monthly B12 replacement. Discussion - This case report illustrates psychiatric manifestations of Biermers' disease. The clinical arguments in favour are: white woman, more than 60 Years old, no history of psychiatric problems, atypical symptoms (confusional state with psychiatric symptoms), fluctuation of symptoms (severe depression with confusional state, delusion of persecution and Capgras' syndrome; delusion with lability of mood and hypomania), dramatic improvement after 9 days of vitamin B12 replacement therapy. The biological arguments are: anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency, normal folate level, atrophia and fundic metaplasia, positive antibodies to parietal cells in the serum, association between Biermers' disease and autoimmune disease (Haschimoto thyroidite). Psychiatric manifestations can occur in the presence of low serum B12 levels but in the absence of the other well recognized neurological and haematological abnormalities of pernicious anemia. Mental or psychological changes may precede haematological signs by Months or Years. They can be the initial symptoms or the only ones. Verbank et al. described the case of a patient with vitamin B12 deficiency in whom hypomania, paranoia and depression had been successively presented during a period of 5 Years before anemia have been developed. The case of Mme V. is similar in the succession of severe depression with delusion of persecution and Capgras' syndrome, delusion with lability of mood and hypomania, during a period of two Months. This report seems to be the first one of a sequence of several psychiatric states with pernicious anemia during a period of two Months with normocytosis anemia. To illustrate this illness we reviewed the literature regarding psychopathology associated with B12 deficiency. The most common psychiatric symptoms were depression, mania, psychotic symptoms, cognitive impairment and obsessive compulsive disorder. The neuropsychiatric severity by vitamin B12 deficiency and the therapeutic efficacy depends on the duration of signs and symptoms. Conclusion - We recommend consideration of B12 deficiency and serum B12 determinations in all the patients with organic mental disorders, atypical psychiatric symptoms and fluctuation of symptomatology. B12 levels should be evaluated with treatment resistant depressive disorders, dementia, psychosis or risk factors for malnutrition such as alcoholism or advancing age associated with neurological symptoms, anemia, malabsorption, gastrointestinal surgery, parasite infestation or strict vegetarian diet. In first intention, B12 deficiency should be researched by serum B12 determination (normal 200-950 pg/ml). Studies of methylmalonic acid and homocysteine showed that they are very sensitive functional indicators of cobalamin status especially when other evidence of cobalamin (B12) deficiency was equivocal. Measurement of methylmalonic acid (normal 73-271 nmol/l) and homocysteine (normal 5,4-13,9 micromol/l) should not replace the measurement of serum cobalamin.
[Maternal vitamin B12 deficiency: cause for neurological symptoms in infancy].
Lücke T,Korenke G C,Poggenburg I,Bentele K H P,Das A M,Hartmann H
Zeitschrift fur Geburtshilfe und Neonatologie
BACKGROUND:Symptoms of Vitamin B (12) deficiency in infancy include growth retardation, regression of psychomotor development, muscular hypotonia and brain atrophy. Besides an inappropriate vegetarian diet of the infants, a vegan diet or a pernicious anaemia of the mother may lead to an insufficient vitamin B (12) supply of the child. PATIENTS AND METHODS:We report here the neurological symptoms of 4 fully breast-fed infants from mothers on vegan diet or with pernicious anaemia. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:Vitamin B (12) deficiency can easily be diagnosed by detection of methylmalonic acid when measuring the organic acids in urine. Vitamin B (12) deficiency should be avoided or diagnosed as early as possible since a supplementation of mother and child can prevent neurological symptoms of the baby. Furthermore, the neurological symptoms of the infant with manifest vitamin B (12) deficiency are (partially) reversible.
Clinical presentation and metabolic consequences in 40 breastfed infants with nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency--what have we learned?
Honzik Tomas,Adamovicova Miriam,Smolka Vratislav,Magner Martin,Hruba Eva,Zeman Jiri
European journal of paediatric neurology : EJPN : official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society
BACKGROUND:Maternal vitamin B(12) (Cbl) deficiency causes nutritional Cbl deficiency in breastfed infants. AIMS:To analyse clinical presentation and metabolic consequences in 40 breastfed infants with Cbl deficiency. METHODS:Cbl levels in serum and breast milk were determined by an electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, methylmalonic acid level by GC/MS, plasma homocysteine by HPLC and propionylcarnitine by MS/MS. Profound Cbl deficiency was found in 17 children (69 ± 17 ng/l, controls 200-900), and milder Cbl deficiency in 23 children (167 ± 40 ng/l). Maternal Cbl deficiency was mostly caused by insufficient Cbl absorption. Only six mothers were vegetarian. RESULTS:The average age at diagnosis was 4.4 ± 2.5 months. Clinical symptoms included failure to thrive (48% of children), hypotonia (40%), developmental delay (38%) and microcephaly (23%). 63% of children had anaemia (megaloblastic in 28% of all children). All but one patient had methylmalonic aciduria, 80% of patients had hyperhomocysteinemia and 87% had increased aminotransferases. Propionylcarnitine was elevated in two out of 25 infants. Comparing groups with severe and mild Cbl deficiency, a marked difference was found in severity of clinical and laboratory changes. CONCLUSION:Maternal Cbl status and diagnostic delay are the major factors influencing severity and progression of Cbl deficiency in breastfed infants. In our cohort, propionylcarnitine was not sufficiently sensitive marker of Cbl deficiency. Although symptoms are reversible on Cbl substitution, permanent neurological damage can result. Selective screening for Cbl deficiency is indicated in all breastfed infants with failure to thrive, hypotonia, developmental delay, microcephaly or megaloblastic anaemia. The best prevention in future could be the screening of all pregnant women.
Prolonged exclusive breast-feeding from vegan mother causing an acute onset of isolated methylmalonic aciduria due to a mild mutase deficiency.
Ciani F,Poggi G M,Pasquini E,Donati M A,Zammarchi E
Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland)
We describe a case of methylmalonic aciduria (MMA) occurred in a 22-month-old boy whose diet was exclusively based upon breast-feeding from a mother following a long-lasting strict vegetarian diet. Clinical picture showed a dramatic onset, with a profound drowsiness associated with a severe metabolic acidosis, hyperammonemia, macrocytic anemia, ketonuria, and massive methylmalonic aciduria without homocystinuria. Both symptoms and biochemical findings quickly improved thanks to prompt vitamin B(12)parenteral therapy. Biochemical and enzymatic findings allowed a diagnosis of mild mutase deficiency, which only and inadequate dietary B(12)contribution might have revealed. Our case highlights the risk of a prolonged strictly vegetarian diet of lactating mother for providing inadequate amounts of some nutrients to the breast-fed baby. Moreover, such a dietary behaviour could dramatically unmask otherwise clinically unapparent metabolic defects in the baby.
A syndrome of methylmalonic aciduria, homocystinuria, megaloblastic anemia and neurologic abnormalities in a vitamin B12-deficient breast-fed infant of a strict vegetarian.
Higginbottom M C,Sweetman L,Nyhan W L
The New England journal of medicine
We studied a six-month-old infant with severe megaloblastic anemia, coma and hyperpigmentation of the extremities. He was found to have methylmalonic aciduria (79 mumol per milligram of creatinine) and homocystinuria (0.85 mumol per milligram of creatinine). Additional biochemical abnormalities included cystathioninuria, glycinuria, methylcitric aciduria, 3-hydroxypropionic aciduria and formic aciduria. The concentration of vitamin B12 in the serum was 20 pg per milliliter. This severe nutritional deficiency was a consequence of inadequate intake, for the infant was exclusively breast-fed by a strictly vegetarian mother who manifested methylmalonic aciduria. Our observations emphasize the importance of educating strict vegetarians about the deficiency of vitamin B12 in their diets and the importance of vitamin B12 supplementation.