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July 2, 1960


JAMA. 1960;173(9):1031. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020270057015

In pernicious anemia, the failure of transport of 1 mcg. of vitamin B12 daily across the mucosa of the whole length of the small intestine leads to a deficiency which, unless effectively treated, is lethal. This failure is due to absence in the gastric secretion of intrinsic factor (IF), which is not known to have any other function than the facilitation of transmucosal transfer of vitamin B12. Although the broad outlines of the vitamin B12-IF relationship are fairly clear, a full understanding of the mechanisms involved is wanting. The use of vitamin B12 labeled with radioactive cobalt has helped greatly to clarify the picture, but the forms in which vitamin B12 exists in foods and the tissues of the body, the identity of IF, and the precise nature of the vitamin B12-IF complex remain to be established. Dialysis experiments have shown that

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