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April 1969

Immunologic Approaches to Malabsorption of Vitamin B12

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles; San Francisco

From the Section of Hematology and Immunology, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco; the departments of medicine, University of; California School of Medicine at Los Angeles; and Harbor General Hospital, Torrance, Calif.

Arch Intern Med. 1969;123(4):397-400. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300140043010

Absorption of Vitamin B12 alone or with added intrinsic factor was impaired in three patients with vitamin B12 malabsorption, two of whom had megaloblastic anemia, thus supporting the diagnosis of intestinal malabsorption rather than pernicious anemia. Yet, presence of serum autoantibodies to parietal cells or intrinsic factor or both indicated concomitant pernicious anemia. Absorption of vitamin B12 in the presence of intrinsic factor was restored in two patients by therapy with cyanocobalamin, suggesting that the initial absorptive abnormalities were induced by deficiency of this vitamin. Autoantibodies to parietal cells were also present in one of three patients with Diphyllobothrium latum-caused vitamin B12 deficiency. She had concomitant pernicious anemia. Immunologic tasks are valuable aids in differentiating disorders of vitamin B12 malabsorption.