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1.  Folate and vitamin B-12 biomarkers in NHANES: history of their measurement and use12345 
NHANES measured folate and vitamin B-12 status biomarkers, starting with serum folate from NHANES I (1974–1975) through 2010. Subsequent NHANES measured additional biomarkers [eg, red blood cell folate, serum vitamin B-12, total homocysteine (tHcy), methylmalonic acid, serum folic acid, and 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid]. Examples of the uses of these data are wide ranging and include public policy applications, the derivation of reference intervals, and research. Periodically, the National Center for Health Statistics and its federal partners convene expert panels to review the use of the folate- and vitamin B-12–related biomarkers in NHANES. These panels have evaluated the need for results to be comparable across time and with published data and the use of crossover studies and adjustment equations to ensure comparability. With the recent availability of reference methods and materials for serum folate and tHcy, NHANES has started to use traceability approaches to enhance the accuracy and comparability of its results. A major user concern over the years has been the use of cutoffs to estimate the prevalence of inadequate folate and vitamin B-12 status. Because these cutoffs depend on the measurement procedure, several expert panels suggested approaches for dealing with cutoff challenges. This review summarizes the history and use of folate- and vitamin B-12–related biomarkers beginning with NHANES I (1974–1975) through 2010.
PMCID: PMC3127520  PMID: 21593508
2.  Overview of a roundtable on NHANES monitoring of biomarkers of folate and vitamin B-12 status: measurement procedure issues123456 
A roundtable dialogue to discuss “NHANES Monitoring of Biomarkers of Folate and Vitamin B-12 Status” took place in July 2010. This article provides an overview of the meeting and this supplement issue. Although the focus of the roundtable dialogue was on the measurement of folate and vitamin B-12 status biomarkers in NHANES, this article also describes the relevance and importance of these issues for clinical and research laboratories. The roundtable identified the microbiological assay (MA) as the gold standard for measurement of serum and red blood cell folate concentrations. The roundtable noted that differences in results between the Bio-Rad Quantaphase II procedure (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA) that NHANES 1991–1994 and 1999–2006 used and the MA that NHANES 2007–2010 used will require adjustment equations to evaluate time trends. The roundtable found that the close agreement between the serum results for the MA and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) procedures supported the conversion to LC-MS/MS for serum folate in future NHANES. The roundtable recognized the uncertainty about whether subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency is a public health concern but encouraged reinstatement of at least one circulating vitamin B-12 measure and one functional vitamin B-12 status measure in future NHANES. The use of serum vitamin B-12 and plasma methylmalonic acid would provide continuity with past NHANES. The roundtable supported the continued use of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reference materials in NHANES biomarker analyses and the further development of additional reference materials by the NIST.
PMCID: PMC3127514  PMID: 21593504
3.  Biomarkers of folate status in NHANES: a roundtable summary123456 
A roundtable to discuss the measurement of folate status biomarkers in NHANES took place in July 2010. NHANES has measured serum folate since 1974 and red blood cell (RBC) folate since 1978 with the use of several different measurement procedures. Data on serum 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF) and folic acid (FA) concentrations in persons aged ≥60 y are available in NHANES 1999–2002. The roundtable reviewed data that showed that folate concentrations from the Bio-Rad Quantaphase II procedure (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA; used in NHANES 1991–1994 and NHANES 1999–2006) were, on average, 29% lower for serum and 45% lower for RBC than were those from the microbiological assay (MA), which was used in NHANES 2007–2010. Roundtable experts agreed that these differences required a data adjustment for time-trend analyses. The roundtable reviewed the possible use of an isotope-dilution liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) measurement procedure for future NHANES and agreed that the close agreement between the MA and LC-MS/MS results for serum folate supported conversion to the LC-MS/MS procedure. However, for RBC folate, the MA gave 25% higher concentrations than did the LC-MS/MS procedure. The roundtable agreed that the use of the LC-MS/MS procedure to measure RBC folate is premature at this time. The roundtable reviewed the reference materials available or under development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and recognized the challenges related to, and the scientific need for, these materials. They noted the need for a commutability study for the available reference materials for serum 5MTHF and FA.
PMCID: PMC3127517  PMID: 21593502
4.  Holotranscobalamin Is a Useful Marker of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Alcoholics 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:128182.
Background. Measurement of serum cobalamin (Cbl) levels is the standard investigation for assessing vitamin B12 deficiency. Falsely increased values of Cbl can be caused by alcoholic liver disease. Measurement of total vitamin B12 serum levels might be misleading in alcoholics, because a tissue metabolic deficiency is possible even with normal serum Cbl levels. Holotranscobalamin (HoloTC), the Cbl metabolically active fraction, is considered as a better index of vitamin B12 deficiency. Methods. For assessing vitamin B12 status, we evaluated 22 adult alcoholic male patients by measuring in parallel serum Cbl, serum folate and red blood cell folate levels, HoloTC levels by the AxSYM assay. Results. HoloTC values were reduced in 3 alcoholics with borderline-low Cbl values. Significant positive correlations were found between serum Cbl and HoloTC levels, serum Cbl and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). Conclusion. HoloTC measurement is a useful option for assessing vitamin B12 status in alcoholics, particularly in the subjects with borderline Cbl values and may be considered an early marker of vitamin B12 deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3317628  PMID: 22481895
5.  Vitamin B12 and folate concentrations during pregnancy and insulin resistance in the offspring: the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study 
Diabetologia  2007;51(1):29-38.
Raised maternal plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations predict small size at birth, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. We studied the association between maternal vitamin B12, folate and tHcy status during pregnancy, and offspring adiposity and insulin resistance at 6 years.
In the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study we studied 700 consecutive eligible pregnant women in six villages. We measured maternal nutritional intake and circulating concentrations of folate, vitamin B12, tHcy and methylmalonic acid (MMA) at 18 and 28 weeks of gestation. These were correlated with offspring anthropometry, body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan) and insulin resistance (homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-R]) at 6 years.
Two-thirds of mothers had low vitamin B12 (<150 pmol/l), 90% had high MMA (>0.26 μmol/l) and 30% had raised tHcy concentrations (>10 μmol/l); only one had a low erythrocyte folate concentration. Although short and thin (BMI), the 6-year-old children were relatively adipose compared with the UK standards (skinfold thicknesses). Higher maternal erythrocyte folate concentrations at 28 weeks predicted higher offspring adiposity and higher HOMA-R (both p < 0.01). Low maternal vitamin B12 (18 weeks; p = 0.03) predicted higher HOMA-R in the children. The offspring of mothers with a combination of high folate and low vitamin B12 concentrations were the most insulin resistant.
Low maternal vitamin B12 and high folate status may contribute to the epidemic of adiposity and type 2 diabetes in India.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0793-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC2100429  PMID: 17851649
Adiposity; Folate; Insulin resistance; Maternal nutrition; Offspring; Pregnancy; Vitamin B12
6.  Simple, Fast, and Simultaneous Detection of Plasma Total Homocysteine, Methylmalonic Acid, Methionine, and 2-Methylcitric Acid Using Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) 
JIMD Reports  2013;10:69-78.
Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) plays an essential role both in the conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA and in the synthesis of methionine (Met) from homocysteine (Hcy). Elevations of total homocysteine (tHcy), Met, methylmalonic acid (MMA), and 2-methylcitric acid (2MCA) are indicative of disorders in these related pathways, and can clinically present as methylmalonic acidemia, cobalamin defects or deficiency, propionic acidemia, homocystinuria, and hypermethioninemia. We have developed a fast, sensitive, and simple method for the simultaneous detection of plasma tHcy, MMA, Met, and 2MCA using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). All analytes were directly determined without the need of derivatization. Both positive and negative modes were used to achieve the best sensitivity and specificity. The two stereo isomers of 2MCA (2S, 3S) and (2R, 3S) were successfully separated and were designated as 2MCA1 and 2MCA2. The assays were linear up to a concentration of 800 μMol/l for tHcy, 2,000 μMol/l for Met, 80 μMol/l for MMA, 40 μMol/l for 2MCA1, and 40 μMol/l for 2MCA2 (80 μMol/l for total 2MCA), respectively. The recovery was between 84.42 % and 120.05 %. The intra-assay coefficient of variations (CVs) ranged from 2.1 % to 6.9 % (n = 20), and the inter-assay CVs ranged from 2.7 % to 11.6 % (n = 20). Reference intervals were established and verified (n = 125). A total of 15 patients with variable disorders in related pathway were successfully confirmed. The assay can be performed either in diagnostic laboratories or as second-tier, follow-up test in newborn screening laboratories.
A fast, sensitive, and simple LC/MS/MS method was developed successfully for the simultaneous detection of plasma total homocysteine, methylmalonic acid, methionine, and 2-methylcitric acid for diagnosis of disorders in related pathways.
PMCID: PMC3755585  PMID: 23430805
7.  Holotranscobalamin, a marker of vitamin B-12 status: analytical aspects and clinical utility12345 
Approximately one-quarter of circulating cobalamin (vitamin B-12) binds to transcobalamin (holoTC) and is thereby available for the cells of the body. For this reason, holoTC is also referred to as active vitamin B-12. HoloTC was suggested as an optimal marker of early vitamin B-12 deficiency >20 y ago. This suggestion led to the development of suitable assays for measurement of the compound and clinical studies that aimed to show the benefit of measurement of holoTC rather than of vitamin B-12. Today holoTC can be analyzed by 3 methods: direct measurement of the complex between transcobalamin and vitamin B-12, measurement of vitamin B-12 attached to transcobalamin, or measurement of the amount of transcobalamin saturated with vitamin B-12. These 3 methods give similar results, but direct measurement of holoTC complex is preferable in the clinical setting from a practical point of view. HoloTC measurement has proven useful for the identification of the few patients who suffer from transcobalamin deficiency. In addition, holoTC is part of the CobaSorb test and therefore useful for assessment of vitamin B-12 absorption. Clinical studies that compare the ability of holoTC and vitamin B-12 to identify individuals with vitamin B-12 deficiency (elevated concentration of methylmalonic acid) suggest that holoTC performs better than total vitamin B-12. To date, holoTC has not been used for population-based assessments of vitamin B-12 status, but we suggest that holoTC is a better marker than total vitamin B-12 for such studies.
PMCID: PMC3127504  PMID: 21593496
8.  Circulating folate, vitamin B12, homocysteine, vitamin B12 transport proteins and risk of prostate cancer: a case-control study, systematic review and meta-analysis 
Disturbed folate metabolism is associated with an increased risk of some cancers. Our objective was to determine whether blood levels of folate, vitamin B12 and related metabolites were associated with prostate cancer risk.
Matched case-control study nested within the UK population-based ProtecT study of PSA-detected prostate cancer in men aged 50–69 years. Plasma concentrations of folate, B12 (cobalamin), holo-haptocorrin, holo- and total-transcobalamin, and total homocysteine (tHcy) were measured in 1,461 cases and 1,507 controls. ProtecT study estimates for associations of folate, B12, and tHcy with prostate cancer risk were included in a meta-analysis, based on a systematic review.
In the ProtecT study, increased B12 and holo-haptocorrin concentrations showed positive associations with prostate cancer risk (highest vs lowest quartile of B12 odds ratio (OR)=1.17 (95% CI 0.95–1.43), P-for-trend=0.06; highest vs lowest quartile of holo-haptocorrin OR=1.27 (1.04–1.56), P-for-trend=0.01); folate, holo-transcobalamin and tHcy were not associated with prostate cancer risk. In the meta-analysis, circulating B12 levels were associated with an increased prostate cancer risk (pooled OR=1.10 (1.01–1.19) per 100 pmol/L increase in B12, P=0.002); the pooled OR for the association of folate with prostate cancer was positive (OR=1.11 (0.96–1.28) per 10 nmol/L, P=0.2) and conventionally statistically significant if ProtecT (the only case-control study) was excluded (OR=1.18 (1.00–1.40) per 10 nmol/L, P=0.02).
Vitamin B12 and (in cohort studies) folate were associated with increased prostate cancer risk.
Given current controversies over mandatory fortification, further research is needed to determine whether these are causal associations.
PMCID: PMC3759018  PMID: 20501771
folate; vitamin B12; cobalamin; transcobalamin; haptocorrin; homocysteine; folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism; prostate cancer
9.  Blood Concentrations of Homocysteine and Methylmalonic Acid among Demented and Non-Demented Swedish Elderly with and without Home Care Services and Vitamin B12 Prescriptions 
Background and Aims
Total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) has been suggested as a risk factor of dementia. Our aim was to investigate potential differences in tHcy status in relation to the prescription of vitamin B12 and dementia diagnosis. We examined whether vitamin B12 prescriptions, a family history of dementia, or the need for home care service might be associated with tHcy values.
A cross-sectional monocenter study comprising 926 consecutive subjects attending our Memory Care Unit was conducted.
Demented subjects being prescribed vitamin B12 had higher serum vitamin B12 (p = 0.025) but also higher tHcy (p < 0.001) and serum methylmalonate (p = 0.032), and lower serum folate (p < 0.001) than those who did not receive vitamin B12 prescriptions. tHcy levels were significantly higher in non-demented subjects receiving home care service (p = 0.007). This group also had lower serum albumin (dementia: p < 0.001; non-dementia: p = 0.004). There was no difference in renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate) in demented or non-demented subjects with or without vitamin B12 prescriptions (dementia with/without vitamin B12 prescription: p = 0.561; non-dementia with/without vitamin B12 prescription: p = 0.710).
Despite vitamin B12 prescriptions, demented subjects had higher tHcy and methylmalonate values. The elevated metabolite values could not be explained by differences in renal function. Thus, elderly subjects on vitamin B12 prescription appear to have unmet nutritional needs.
PMCID: PMC3522456  PMID: 23277779
Homocysteine; Dementia; Vitamin B12; Folate; Home care service
10.  Serum folate, vitamin B-12 and homocysteine and their association with depressive symptoms among US adults 
Psychosomatic medicine  2010;72(9):862-873.
Several nutritional and physiological factors have been linked to depression in adults including low folate and vitamin B-12 and elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) levels.
Nationally representative data on US adults (aged 20–85 years, n=2,524) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the period 2005–06 were used. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and elevated symptoms were defined as PHQ total score≥10. Serum folate, vitamin B-12 and tHcy were mainly expressed as tertiles. Age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, poverty income ratio, marital status, smoking status, physical activity, body mass index and selected nutrient intakes (average of two 24-hr recalls) were considered as potential confounders. Multiple ordinary least square (OLS), logistic and zero-inflated Poisson regression models were conducted in the main analysis.
Overall, mean PHQ score was significantly higher among women compared to men. Elevated depressive symptoms (PHQ≥10) were inversely associated with folate status particularly among women [Fully adjusted odds ratio (Tertiles T3 vs. T1)=0.37 (95% CI = 0.17–0.86)], but not significantly related to tHcy or vitamin B-12. No interaction was noted between the three exposures in affecting depressive symptoms. In older adults (≥50 years) and both sexes combined, total homocysteine was positively associated with elevated depressive symptoms [Fully adjusted odds ratio (Tertiles T2 vs. T1)=3.01 (95% CI = 1.01–9.03)], though no significant dose-response relationship was found.
Future interventions aiming at improving mental health outcomes among US adults should take into account dietary and other factors that would increase levels of serum folate.
PMCID: PMC2978275  PMID: 20841559
Depression; folate; vitamin B-12; homocysteine; adults
11.  Comparison between Serum Holotranscobalamin and Total Vitamin B12 as Indicators of Vitamin B12 Status 
Oman Medical Journal  2010;25(1):9-12.
This study aims to assess the usefulness of serum holotranscobalamin (holoTC), the fraction of vitamin B12 that is available for tissue uptake, compared with total vitamin B12 in patients investigated for vitamin B12 disorders.
Serum samples were randomly selected from 76 patients (48 females, 28 males; age range 12-69 years) referred to the Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory, Royal Hospital for the assessment of vitamin B12 status. For each patient, serum total vitamin B12 level was determined by chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay on Architect 2000 analyzer and holoTC (active vitamin B12) level was determined by microparticle enzyme immunoassay on Axsym analyzer (both from Abbott, USA).
Comparison of the data was conducted to reflect the mean, standard deviation (SD) and correlation coefficient between the two groups. The mean (SD) for serum holoTC and total vitamin B12 were 46.5(32.2) pmol/L and 316.3(165.6) pmol/L respectively. There was a significant correlation between holoTC and total vitamin B12 (r= 0.765, P< 0.001) and the regression equation was expressed as; y = a + bx (i.e: holoTC = 1.5 + 0.14 total vitamin B12). Also, the results were assessed for any misclassification when comparing holoTC and the total vitamin B12 in terms of whether each or both values agree or disagree for classifying the patients as having normal or abnormal (low or high) results, based on the cut-off thresholds of the kit’s quoted reference range for holo TC of 9 - 123 pmol/L and for total vitamin B12 of 140-600 pmol/L. Accordingly, in 69 (90.8%) samples, there was a parallel agreement/ classification of results, both being normal or abnormal. In 61 (80.4%) patients, both results were normal, whereas in 4 (5.2%) patients, both results were high, and in 4 (5.2%) patients both results were low. However, in 7 (9.8%) cases, there was disagreement/ misclassification of results; 6 (7.8%) patients, holoTC was normal while total vitamin B12 was low, and in 1 (1.4%) patient, holoTC was normal while total vitamin B12 was high.
It can be recommended that holoTC and total vitamin B12, alone and in combination, have almost equal diagnostic efficiency in screening/diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency for the majority of patients. In very few patients, holoTC appeared to be a better reflector of vitamin B12 status. Further comparison studies based on a gold standard method for classifying vitamin B12 status are worth considering.
PMCID: PMC3215392  PMID: 22125690
12.  Transcobalamin C776G Genotype Modifies the Association between Vitamin B12 and Homocysteine in Older Hispanics 
A common polymorphism, C776G, in the plasma B12 transport protein transcobalamin (TC), encodes for either proline or arginine at codon 259. This polymorphism may affect the affinity of TC for B12 and subsequent delivery of B12 to tissues.
TC genotype and its associations with indicators of B12 status, including total B12, holotranscobalamin (holoTC), methylmalonic acid, and homocysteine, were evaluated in a cohort of elderly Latinos (N=554, age 60–93y) from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (SALSA).
The distribution of TC genotypes was 41.3% homozygous reference (776CC) and 11.6% homozygous variant (776GG). No differences between the homozygous genotypes were observed in total B12, holoTC, methylmalonic acid, or homocysteine. The holoTC/total B12 ratio was lower in the 776GG group compared with the 776CC group (p=0.04). Significant interactions of TC genotype with total B12 (p=0.04) and with holoTC (p≤0.03) were observed such that mean homocysteine concentrations and the odds ratios for hyperhomocysteinemia (>13 µmol/L) were higher in the 776CC subjects compared with all carriers of the G allele (776CG and 776GG combined) when total B12 (<156 pmol/L) or holoTC (<35 pmol/L) were low.
This population of older Latinos has a lower prevalence of the TC 776GG variant than reported for Caucasian populations. The association between vitamin B12 and homocysteine concentrations is modified by TC 776 genotype. It remains to be determined if the TC C776G polymorphism has a significant effect on the hematological and neurological manifestations of B12 deficiency or on vascular and other morbidities associated with hyperhomocysteinemia.
PMCID: PMC2864787  PMID: 20216556
Transcobalamin; polymorphism; homocysteine; vitamin B12; Hispanic elderly
13.  Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Relation to Functional Disabilities 
Nutrients  2013;5(11):4462-4475.
This study was designed to assess whether symptoms, functional measures, and reported disabilities were associated with vitamin B12 (B12) deficiency when defined in three ways. Participants, aged 60 or more years of age, in 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) were categorized in relation to three previously used definitions of B12 deficiency: (1) serum B12 < 148 pmol/L; (2) serum B12 < 200 pmol/L and serum homocysteine > 20 μmol/L; and (3) serum B12 < 258 pmol/L or serum methylmalonic acid > 0.21 μmol/L. Functional measures of peripheral neuropathy, balance, cognitive function, gait speed, along with self-reported disability (including activities of daily living) were examined with standardized instruments by trained NHANES interviewers and technicians. Individuals identified as B12 deficient by definition 2 were more likely to manifest peripheral neuropathy OR (odds) (95% confidence intervals), p value: 9.70 (2.24, 42.07), 0.004 and report greater total disability, 19.61 (6.22, 61.86) 0.0001 after adjustments for age, sex, race, serum creatinine, and ferritin concentrations, smoking, diabetes, and peripheral artery disease. Smaller, but significantly increased, odds of peripheral neuropathy and total disability were also observed when definition 3 was applied. Functional measures and reported disabilities were associated with B12 deficiency definitions that include B12 biomarkers (homocysteine or methylmalonic acid). Further study of these definitions is needed to alert clinicians of possible subclinical B12 deficiency because functional decline amongst older adults may be correctable if the individual is B12 replete.
PMCID: PMC3847742  PMID: 24225845
vitamin B12 deficiency; methylmalonic acid; homocysteine; peripheral neuropathy; functional impairment
14.  Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:187.
Magnesium plays an essential role in the synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D and magnesium supplementation substantially reversed the resistance to vitamin D treatment in patients with magnesium-dependent vitamin-D-resistant rickets. We hypothesized that dietary magnesium alone, particularly its interaction with vitamin D intake, contributes to serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels, and the associations between serum 25(OH)D and risk of mortality may be modified by magnesium intake level.
We tested these novel hypotheses utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006, a population-based cross-sectional study, and the NHANES III cohort, a population-based cohort study. Serum 25(OH)D was used to define vitamin D status. Mortality outcomes in the NHANES III cohort were determined by using probabilistic linkage with the National Death Index (NDI).
High intake of total, dietary or supplemental magnesium was independently associated with significantly reduced risks of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency respectively. Intake of magnesium significantly interacted with intake of vitamin D in relation to risk of both vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. Additionally, the inverse association between total magnesium intake and vitamin D insufficiency primarily appeared among populations at high risk of vitamin D insufficiency. Furthermore, the associations of serum 25(OH)D with mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer, were modified by magnesium intake, and the inverse associations were primarily present among those with magnesium intake above the median.
Our preliminary findings indicate it is possible that magnesium intake alone or its interaction with vitamin D intake may contribute to vitamin D status. The associations between serum 25(OH)D and risk of mortality may be modified by the intake level of magnesium. Future studies, including cohort studies and clinical trials, are necessary to confirm the findings.
PMCID: PMC3765911  PMID: 23981518
Magnesium intake; Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels; Vitamin D insufficiency; Vitamin D deficiency; Parathyroid hormone; Mortality; Colorectal cancer; Cardiovascular diseases
15.  Characterization of a monoclonal antibody with specificity for holo-transcobalamin 
Holotranscobalamin, cobalamin-saturated transcobalamin, is the minor fraction of circulating cobalamin (vitamin B12), which is available for cellular uptake and hence is physiologically relevant. Currently, no method allows simple, direct quantification of holotranscobalamin. We now report on the identification and characterization of a monoclonal antibody with a unique specificity for holotranscobalamin.
The specificity and affinity of the monoclonal antibodies were determined using surface plasmon resonance and recombinant transcobalamin as well as by immobilizing the antibodies on magnetic microspheres and using native transcobalamin in serum. The epitope of the holotranscobalamin specific antibody was identified using phage display and comparison to a de novo generated three-dimensional model of transcobalamin using the program Rosetta. A direct assay for holotrnscobalamin in the ELISA format was developed using the specific antibody and compared to the commercial assay HoloTC RIA.
An antibody exhibiting >100-fold specificity for holotranscobalamin over apotranscobalamin was identified. The affinity but not the specificity varied inversely with ionic strength and pH, indicating importance of electrostatic interactions. The epitope was discontinuous and epitope mapping of the antibody by phage display identified two similar motifs with no direct sequence similarity to transcobalamin. A comparison of the motifs with a de novo generated three-dimensional model of transcobalamin identified two structures in the N-terminal part of transcobalamin that resembled the motif. Using this antibody an ELISA based prototype assay was developed and compared to the only available commercial assay for measuring holotranscobalamin, HoloTC RIA.
The identified antibody possesses a unique specificity for holotranscobalamin and can be used to develop a direct assay for the quantification of holotranscobalamin.
PMCID: PMC1351188  PMID: 16393340
16.  10 years after NHANES I: report of initial followup, 1982-84. 
Public Health Reports  1986;101(5):465-473.
The NHANES I Epidemiologic Followup Study (NHEFS) was jointly initiated by the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Institute on Aging in collaboration with other National Institutes of Health and Public Health Service agencies. The goal of NHEFS is to examine the relationship of baseline clinical, nutritional, and behavioral factors assessed in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I-1971-75) to subsequent morbidity and mortality. Data collection for the initial phase of followup took place between 1982 and 1984 and included tracing of all NHANES I participants, determining their vital status, conducting in-depth interviews with surviving participants or with proxies for those who were deceased or incapacitated, conducting selected physical measurements, obtaining facility records for stays in hospitals or nursing homes that occurred during the period of followup, and obtaining death certificates for decedents. Ninety-three percent of the original cohort was successfully traced. Interviews were conducted for 93 percent of traced, surviving participants and 84 percent of traced, surviving participants and 84 percent of traced, deceased subjects. Physical measurements were obtained for approximately 95 percent of surviving, interviewed subjects. Death certificates are available for more than 95 percent of the decedents, and 18,136 facility records were received for 6,477 subjects.
PMCID: PMC1477775  PMID: 3094075
17.  Developing a Metadata Data Model for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a large and comprehensive health survey utilizing leading edge technologies to produce national estimates of health measures and the nutritional status of the U.S. population. Early NHANES metadata models grouped data by categories with little specificity and often not capturing the complexity of the survey. Subsequently, existing models at the Census Bureau, CDC, and the EPA were evaluated in addition to industry standards, such as DDI, Dublin Core, and ISO 1179. For the NHANES metadata model, the DDI standard and CDC Public Health Conceptual Model were chosen as the backbone for constructing the data model. The new model has led to increased data accuracy and several value-added products for producing codebooks, automatically checking questionnaire skip patterns, and producing questionnaire instrumentation.
PMCID: PMC1480142  PMID: 14728294
18.  Validity of U.S. Nutritional Surveillance: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Caloric Energy Intake Data, 1971–2010 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76632.
Methodological limitations compromise the validity of U.S. nutritional surveillance data and the empirical foundation for formulating dietary guidelines and public health policies.
Evaluate the validity of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) caloric intake data throughout its history, and examine trends in the validity of caloric intake estimates as the NHANES dietary measurement protocols evolved.
Validity of data from 28,993 men and 34,369 women, aged 20 to 74 years from NHANES I (1971–1974) through NHANES 2009–2010 was assessed by: calculating physiologically credible energy intake values as the ratio of reported energy intake (rEI) to estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR), and subtracting estimated total energy expenditure (TEE) from NHANES rEI to create ‘disparity values’.
Main Outcome Measures
1) Physiologically credible values expressed as the ratio rEI/BMR and 2) disparity values (rEI–TEE).
The historical rEI/BMR values for men and women were 1.31 and 1.19, (95% CI: 1.30–1.32 and 1.18–1.20), respectively. The historical disparity values for men and women were −281 and −365 kilocalorie-per-day, (95% CI: −299, −264 and −378, −351), respectively. These results are indicative of significant under-reporting. The greatest mean disparity values were −716 kcal/day and −856 kcal/day for obese (i.e., ≥30 kg/m2) men and women, respectively.
Across the 39-year history of the NHANES, EI data on the majority of respondents (67.3% of women and 58.7% of men) were not physiologically plausible. Improvements in measurement protocols after NHANES II led to small decreases in underreporting, artifactual increases in rEI, but only trivial increases in validity in subsequent surveys. The confluence of these results and other methodological limitations suggest that the ability to estimate population trends in caloric intake and generate empirically supported public policy relevant to diet-health relationships from U.S. nutritional surveillance is extremely limited.
PMCID: PMC3793920  PMID: 24130784
19.  Assessment of the Vitamin B12 Status of Pregnant Women in Nigeria Using Plasma Holotranscobalamin 
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology  2011;2011:365894.
Maternal vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for neural tube defects and other neurological problems in infants. We determined the vitamin B12 status of 143 pregnant women in Nigeria representing all trimesters who presented to an antenatal clinic in Jos, Nigeria, using holotranscobalamin II levels (holoTCII), which is a measure of the vitamin B12 that is available for uptake into tissues. The holoTCII concentration ranged from 13 to 128 pmol/L. Using a cutoff of 40 pmol/L, 36% of the women were classified as vitamin B12-deficient. HoloTCII concentrations correlated negatively with plasma homocysteine levels (r = −0.24, P = 0.003) and positively with red blood cell folate concentrations (r = 0.28, P < 0.001). These data underscore the importance of supplementing pregnant women in Nigeria with vitamin B12 in order to ensure adequate vitamin B12 status and decrease the risk for neural tube defects.
PMCID: PMC3140786  PMID: 21789284
20.  Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988–2004 
Archives of internal medicine  2009;169(6):626-632.
Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with suboptimal health. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency may be rising, but population-based trends are uncertain. We sought to evaluate US population trends in vitamin D insufficiency.
We compared serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), collected during 1988 through 1994, with NHANES data collected from 2001 through 2004 (NHANES 2001–2004). Complete data were available for 18 883 participants in NHANES III and 13 369 participants in NHANES 2001–2004.
The mean serum 25(OH)D level was 30 (95% confidence interval [CI], 29–30) ng/mL during NHANES III and decreased to 24 (23–25) ng/mL during NHANES 2001–2004. Accordingly, the prevalence of 25(OH)D levels of less than 10 ng/mL increased from 2% (95% CI, 2%–2%) to 6% (5%–8%), and 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/mL or more decreased from 45% (43%–47%) to 23% (20%–26%). The prevalence of 25(OH)D levels of less than 10 ng/mL in non-Hispanic blacks rose from 9% during NHANES III to 29% during NHANES 2001–2004, with a corresponding decrease in the prevalence of levels of 30 ng/mL or more from 12% to 3%. Differences by age strata (mean serum 25[OH]D levels ranging from 28–32 ng/mL) and sex (28 ng/mL for women and 32 ng/mL for men) during NHANES III equalized during NHANES 2001–2004 (24 vs 24 ng/mL for age and 24 vs 24 ng/mL for sex).
National data demonstrate a marked decrease in serum 25(OH)D levels from the 1988–1994 to the 2001–2004 NHANES data collections. Racial/ethnic differences have persisted and may have important implications for known health disparities. Current recommendations for vitamin D supplementation are inadequate to address the growing epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency.
PMCID: PMC3447083  PMID: 19307527
21.  Roundtable on Bioterrorism Detection 
During the 2001 AMIA Annual Symposium, the Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Emergency Medicine Working Group hosted the Roundtable on Bioterrorism Detection. Sixty-four people attended the roundtable discussion, during which several researchers discussed public health surveillance systems designed to enhance early detection of bioterrorism events. These systems make secondary use of existing clinical, laboratory, paramedical, and pharmacy data or facilitate electronic case reporting by clinicians. This paper combines case reports of six existing systems with discussion of some common techniques and approaches. The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to foster communication among researchers and promote progress by 1) sharing information about systems, including origins, current capabilities, stages of deployment, and architectures; 2) sharing lessons learned during the development and implementation of systems; and 3) exploring cooperation projects, including the sharing of software and data. A mailing list server for these ongoing efforts may be found at
PMCID: PMC344564  PMID: 11861622
22.  Vitamin B12 deficiency & levels of metabolites in an apparently normal urban south Indian elderly population 
Background & objectives:
There is no published literature on the extent of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly Indians as determined by plasma vitamin B12 levels and methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels. Vitamin B12 deficiency is expected to be higher in elderly Indians due to vegetarianism, varied socio-economic strata and high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection. We therefore, studied the dietary habits of south Indian urban elderly population and measured vitamin B12, MMA red cell folate and homocysteine (Hcy) levels.
Healthy elderly urban subjects (175, >60 yr) were recruited. Detailed history, physical examination and neurological assessment were carried out. Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) for dietary analysis for daily intake of calories, vitamin B12, folate and detailed psychological assessment for cognitive functions was carried out. Blood samples were analyzed for routine haematology and biochemistry, vitamin B12, red cell folate, MMA and Hcy.
The mean age of the study population was 66.3 yr. Median values for daily dietary intake of vitamin B12 and folate were 2.4 and 349.2 μg/day respectively. Sixty two (35%) participants consumed multivitamin supplements. Plasma vitamin B12 level and the dietary intake of vitamin B12 was significantly correlated (P=0.157). Plasma vitamin B12 and Hcy were inversely correlated (P= -0.509). Red cell folate was inversely correlated with Hcy (P= -0.550). Significant negative correlation was observed between plasma vitamin B12 and MMA in the entire study population (P= -0.220). Subjects consuming vitamin supplements (n=62) had significantly higher plasma vitamin B12 levels, lower MMA levels and lower Hcy levels. There was no significant correlation between plasma vitamin B12, MMA, Hcy and red cell folate and any of the 10 cognitive tests including Hindi Mental Status Examination (HMSE).
Interpretation & conclusions:
Our study is indicative of higher vitamin B12 (2.4 μg/day) intakes in urban south Indian population. Thirty five per cent of the study population consumed multivitamin supplements and therefore, low plasma vitamin B12 levels were seen only in 16 per cent of the study subjects. However, MMA was elevated in 55 per cent and Hcy in 13 per cent of the subjects.
PMCID: PMC3237239  PMID: 22089603
Cognitive assessment; geriatric; methylmalonic acid; nutrition; vitamin B12 deficiency
23.  Advances in standardization of laboratory measurement procedures: implications for measuring biomarkers of folate and vitamin B-12 status in NHANES1234 
Population studies such as NHANES analyze large numbers of laboratory measurements and are often performed in different laboratories using different measurement procedures and over an extended period of time. Correct clinical and epidemiologic interpretations of the results depend on the accuracy of those measurements. Unfortunately, considerable variability has been observed among assays for folate, vitamin B-12, and related biomarkers. In the past few decades, the science of metrology has advanced considerably, with the development of improved primary reference measurement procedures and high-level reference materials, which can serve as the basis for accurate measurement. A rigorous approach has been established for making field methods traceable to the highest-level reference measurement procedures and reference materials. This article reviews some basic principles of metrology and describes their recent application to measurements of folate and vitamin B-12.
PMCID: PMC3127510  PMID: 21562088
24.  Global NeuroAIDS Roundtable 
Journal of neurovirology  2013;19(1):1-9.
In May 2012, the Division of AIDS Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) organized the “Global NeuroAIDS Roundtable” in conjunction with the 11th International Symposium on Neurovirology and the 2012 Conference on HIV in the Nervous System. The meeting was held in New York, NY, USA and brought together NIMH-funded investigators who are currently working on projects related to the neurological complications of AIDS (NeuroAIDS) in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America in order to provide an opportunity to share their recent findings and discuss the challenges encountered within each country. The major goals of the roundtable were to evaluate HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment and determine if it may be directly attributable to distinct HIV subtypes or clades and to discuss the future priorities for global NeuroAIDS research. At the “Global NeuroAIDS Roundtable”, presentations of preliminary research indicated that HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment is prevalent in all countries examined regardless of which HIV clade is present in the region. The only clear-cut difference between HIV-1 clades was in relation to subtypes A and D in Uganda. However, a key point that emerged from the discussions was that there is an urgent need to standardize neurocognitive assessment methodologies across the globe before definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the relationship between HIV clade diversity and neuropathogenesis. Future research directions were also discussed at the roundtable with particular emphasis on the potential of viral and host factor molecular interactions to impact the pathophysiology of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) from a global perspective.
PMCID: PMC3713197  PMID: 23354550
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type 2 (HIV-2); Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); HIV clade; NeuroAIDS; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND); Neuropathogenesis
25.  Association between plasma homocysteine and riboflavin status in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children 
Remethylation of homocysteine to methionine is dependent on an adequate supply of one or more of the B vitamins like folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is also influenced by genetic factors such as polymorphisms in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene. MTHFR is a flavo enzyme and a key player in folate metabolism and changes in its activity could modify the susceptibility to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In this case — control study we have examined the effect of riboflavin status as measured by erythrocyte glutathione reductase activation coefficient (EGRAC) on homocysteine levels along with vitamin B12 and folate in pediatric ALL. Folate and B12 levels were significantly lower among cases as compared to controls while EGRAC and tHcy did not differ significantly among the groups. The multivariate regression analysis revealed that in the ALL group EGRAC significantly influences tHcy levels suggesting that riboflavin availability may be a predictor of tHcy levels in patients with ALL. This finding may have implications for tHcy lowering therapy.
PMCID: PMC3453319  PMID: 23105845
Homocysteine; Riboflavin; MTHFR; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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