Macro-B12 and Unexpectedly High Levels of Plasma B12: A Critical Review

Sergey N. Fedosov*, Ebba Nexo*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


A low total plasma vitamin B12 supports a clinical suspicion of B12 deficiency, while the interpretation of an unexpectedly normal/high level is marred by controversies. Here, we critically review current knowledge on B12 in blood plasma, including the presence of the so-called “macro-B12”. The latter form is most often defined as the fraction of B12 that can be removed by precipitation with polyethylene glycol (PEG), a nonspecific procedure that also removes protein polymers and antibody-bound analytes. Plasma B12 includes B12 attached to transcobalamin and haptocorrin, and an increased concentration of one or both proteins almost always causes an elevation of B12. The total plasma B12 is measured by automated competitive binding assays, often incorrectly referred to as immunoassays, since the binding protein is intrinsic factor and not an antibody. An unexpectedly high level of B12 may be further explored using immunological measurements of haptocorrin and transcobalamin (optionally combined with e.g., size-exclusion chromatography). Nonspecific methods, such as PEG precipitation, are likely to give misleading results and cannot be recommended. Currently, the need for evaluation of a high B12 of unknown etiology is limited since other tests (such as measurements of methylmalonic acid) may better guide the diagnosis of B12 deficiency.

StatusUdgivet - mar. 2024


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