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Vitamin B-12 abnormalities in HIV-infected patients.

European Journal of Haematology 1991 Jul;47(1):60-4 (ISSN: 0902-4441)

Remacha AF; Riera A; Cadafalch J; Gimferrer E Hematology Department, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.

A prospective study of 60 consecutively admitted patients with HIV infection was performed to document the prevalence, etiology and manifestations of low serum vitamin B-12 in such patients. Low serum B-12 levels were found in 10 patients (16.7%). In 6, vitamin B-12 absorption was impaired and hog intrinsic factor addition did not improve it. Patients with low vitamin B-12 levels showed lower hemoglobin, leukocytes, lymphocytes, CD4 lymphocytes and CD4/CD8 lymphocyte ratio than HIV patients with physiological serum vitamin B-12 levels. However, bone marrow megaloblastosis was found in only 3 low vitamin B-12 patients and the deoxyuridine suppression test was pathological in only 1 case. In 7 patients, parenteral treatment was begun with variable response despite serum vitamin B-12 correction. In conclusion, low serum vitamin B-12 is often found in HIV-infected patients and it could be related to malabsorption, but clear megaloblastic abnormalities and treatment response could not be demonstrated. A decreased concentration of the serum binders due to disturbances in the leukocytes and related immunocompetent cell may play an additional role.

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