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1.  Cobalamin coenzyme forms are not likely to be superior to cyano- and hydroxyl-cobalamin in prevention or treatment of cobalamin deficiency 
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research  2015;59(7):1364-1372.
Methylcobalamin (MeCbl) and adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl) are coenzymes for methionine synthase and methylmalonyl-CoA mutase, respectively. Hydroxylcobalamin (HOCbl) and cyanocobalamin (CNCbl) are frequently used for supplementation. MeCbl and AdoCbl have recently emerged as alternative forms in supplements. In the light of metabolic transformation of Cbl into its cofactor forms, this review discusses current evidence on efficacy and utility of different Cbl forms in preventing or treating Cbl deficiency. Cbl-transporting proteins bind and mediate the uptake of all aforementioned forms of Cbl. After internalization and lysosomal release, Cbl binds to the cytosolic chaperon MMACHC that is responsible for (i) flavin-dependent decyanation of [CN-Co3+]Cbl to [Co2+]Cbl; (ii) glutathione-dependent dealkylation of MeCbl and AdoCbl to [Co2+/1+]Cbl; and (iii) glutathione-dependent decyanation of CNCbl or reduction of HOCbl under anaerobic conditions. MMACHC shows a broad specificity for Cbl forms and supplies the Cbl2+ intermediate for synthesis of MeCbl and AdoCbl. Cobalamin chemistry, physiology, and biochemistry suggest that MeCbl and AdoCbl follow the same route of intracellular processing as CNCbl does. We conclude that supplementing MeCbl or AdoCbl is unlikely to be advantageous compared to CNCbl. On the other hand, there are obvious advantages of high parenteral doses (1–2 mg) of HOCbl in treating inborn errors of Cbl metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4692085  PMID: 25820384
Adenosylcobalamin; Coenzyme; Cyanocobalamin; Deficiency; Hydroxylcobalamin; Methylcobalamin
2.  Salivary Acetylcholinesterase Activity Is Increased in Parkinson's Disease: A Potential Marker of Parasympathetic Dysfunction 
Parkinson's Disease  2015;2015:156479.
Introduction. Decreased salivary flow and xerostomia are frequent findings in Parkinson's disease (PD), possibly caused by alterations in the parasympathetic tonus. Here we explore salivary acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity as a potential biomarker in PD. Methods. We measured salivary flow, AChE activity, and total protein concentration in 30 PD patients and 49 healthy controls. We also performed exploratory correlation analyses with disease duration, motor symptom severity, autonomic complaints, and other nonmotor symptoms. Results. PD patients displayed significantly decreased salivary flow rate, significantly increased salivary AChE activity, and total protein concentration. Importantly, the AChE activity/total protein ratio was significantly increased in PD patients, suggesting that increased AChE activity cannot be explained solely by upconcentration of saliva. The Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS) score displayed significant correlation with total salivary protein (P = 0.002) and near-significant correlation with salivary flow (P = 0.07). Color vision test scores were also significantly correlated with AChE activity (P = 0.04) and total protein levels (P = 0.002). Conclusion. Salivary AChE activity is increased in PD patients compared to healthy controls. Future studies are needed to elucidate whether this parameter reflects the extent of neuronal damage and parasympathetic denervation in the salivary glands of PD patients.
PMCID: PMC4342069  PMID: 25767737
3.  Detection of EGFR mutations in plasma and biopsies from non-small cell lung cancer patients by allele-specific PCR assays 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:294.
Lung cancer patients with mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are primary candidates for EGFR-targeted therapy. Reliable analyses of such mutations have previously been possible only in tumour tissue. Here, we demonstrate that mutations can be detected in plasma samples with allele-specific PCR assays.
Pairs of the diagnostic biopsy and plasma obtained just prior to start of erlotinib treatment were collected from 199 patients with adenocarcinoma of non-small-cell lung cancer. DNA from both sample types was isolated and examined for the presence of mutations in exons 18–21 of the EGFR gene, employing the cobas® EGFR Tissue Test and cobas® EGFR Blood Test (in development, Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., CA, USA).
Test results were obtained in all 199 (100%) plasma samples and 196/199 (98%) of the biopsies. EGFR-activating mutations were identified in 24/199 (12%) plasma samples and 28/196 (14%) biopsy samples, and 17/196 (9%) matched pairs contained the same mutation. Six EGFR mutations were present only in plasma samples but not in the biopsy samples. The overall concordance of the EGFR gene mutations detected in plasma and biopsy tissue was 179/196 (91%) (kappa value: 0.621).
Mutational analysis of the EGFR gene in plasma samples is feasible with allele-specific PCR assays and represents a non-invasive supplement to biopsy analysis.
Trial registration
M-20080012 from March 10, 2008 and reported to NCT00815971.
PMCID: PMC4014134  PMID: 24773774
EGFR (Epidermal growth factor receptor); Plasma DNA; Erlotinib; Lung cancer
4.  Elevated Plasma Vitamin B12 Levels as a Marker for Cancer: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
A substantial proportion of patients referred for plasma vitamin B12 (cobalamin [Cbl]) measurement present with high Cbl levels, which have been reported in patients with different cancer types. However, the cancer risk among patients with newly diagnosed high Cbl levels has not been adequately examined.
We conducted this cohort study using population-based Danish medical registries. Patients referred for Cbl measurement with levels greater than the lower reference limit (≥200 pmol/L) were identified from the population of Northern Denmark during the period of 1998 to 2009 using a database of laboratory test results covering the entire population. Data on cancer incidence (follow-up 1998–2010), Cbl treatment, and prior diagnoses were obtained from medical registries. Patients receiving Cbl treatment were excluded. Cancer risks were calculated as standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), stratified by plasma Cbl levels. All statistical tests were two-sided.
We identified 333 667 persons without prevalent cancer and not receiving Cbl treatment. Six percent had Cbl levels greater than the upper reference limit (≥601 pmol/L). Cancer risk increased with higher Cbl levels and was highest during the first year of follow-up (Cbl 601–800 pmol/L: SIR = 3.44, 95% CI = 3.14 to 3.76; Cbl >800 pmol/L: SIR = 6.27, 95% CI = 5.70 to 6.88; both P < .001). The risks were particularly elevated for hematological and smoking- and alcohol-related cancers for persons with high Cbl levels.
High Cbl levels were associated with the risk of subsequently diagnosed cancer, mostly within the first year of follow-up. This may have clinical implications for the interpretation of high Cbl levels.
PMCID: PMC3848986  PMID: 24249744
5.  4-Ethylphenyl-Cobalamin Impairs Tissue Uptake of Vitamin B12 and Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75312.
Coβ-4-ethylphenyl-cob(III) alamin (EtPhCbl) is an organometallic analogue of vitamin B12 (CNCbl) which binds to transcobalamin (TC), a plasma protein that facilitates the cellular uptake of cobalamin (Cbl). In vitro assays with key enzymes do not convert EtPhCbl to the active coenzyme forms of Cbl suggesting that administration of EtPhCbl may cause cellular Cbl deficiency. Here, we investigate the in vivo effect of EtPhCbl in mice and its ability, if any, to induce Cbl deficiency. We show that EtPhCbl binds to mouse TC and we examined mice that received 3.5 nmol/24h EtPhCbl (n=6), 3.5 nmol/24h CNCbl (n=7) or NaCl (control group) (n=5) through osmotic mini-pumps for four weeks. We analyzed plasma, urine, liver, spleen, submaxillary glands and spinal cord for Cbl and markers of Cbl deficiency including methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine (tHcy). Plasma MMA (mean±SEM) was elevated in animals treated with EtPhCbl (1.01±0.12 µmol/L) compared to controls (0.30±0.02 µmol/L) and CNCbl (0.29±0.01 µmol/L) treated animals. The same pattern was observed for tHcy. Plasma total Cbl concentration was higher in animals treated with EtPhCbl (128.82±1.87 nmol/L) than in CNCbl treated animals (87.64±0.93 nmol/L). However, the organ levels of total Cbl were significantly lower in animals treated with EtPhCbl compared to CNCbl treated animals or controls, notably in the liver (157.07±8.56 pmol/g vs. 603.85±20.02 pmol/g, and 443.09±12.32 pmol/g, respectively). Differences between the three groups was analysed using one-way ANOVA and, Bonferroni post-hoc test. EtPhCbl was present in all tissues, except the spinal cord, accounting for 35-90% of total Cbl. In conclusion, treatment with EtPhCbl induces biochemical evidence of Cbl deficiency. This may in part be caused by a compromised tissue accumulation of Cbl.
PMCID: PMC3779197  PMID: 24073261
6.  Expression of PIK3CA, PTEN mRNA and PIK3CA mutations in primary breast cancer: association with lymph node metastases 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:464.
High activity of the intracellular phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) pathway is common in breast cancer. Here, we explore differences in expression of important PI3K pathway regulators: the activator, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA), and the tumour suppressor, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), in breast carcinoma tissue and normal breast tissue. Furthermore, we examine whether expression of PIK3CA and PTEN mRNA and occurrence of PIK3CA mutations are associated with lymph node metastases in patients with primary breast cancer.
Paired tissue samples of breast carcinoma and normal breast tissue were obtained from 175 breast cancer patients at the time of primary surgery, of these 105 patients were lymph node positive. Expression of PIK3CA and PTEN mRNA was quantified with Quantitative Real Time PCR. Somatic mutations in exon 9 and exon 20 of the PIK3CA gene were identified by genotyping.
Both PIK3CA and PTEN mRNA expression was significantly increased in breast carcinoma tissue compared to normal breast tissue (p = 2 × 10-11) and (p < 0.001), respectively. PIK3CA mutations were present in 68 out of 175 patients (39%), but were not associated with PIK3CA expression (p = 0.59). Expression of PIK3CA and PTEN mRNA, and PIK3CA mutations in breast carcinomas were not associated with presence of lymph node metastases.
The expression of PTEN and PIK3CA mRNA is increased in breast carcinoma tissue compared to normal breast tissue, and PIK3CA mutations are frequent in primary breast carcinoma, however these factors were not associated with lymph node metastases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-464) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3786083  PMID: 24083111
PI3K pathway; PIK3CA; Mutations; PTEN; Breast cancer; Lymph node metastases
7.  The Soluble Receptor for Vitamin B12 Uptake (sCD320) Increases during Pregnancy and Occurs in Higher Concentration in Urine than in Serum 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e73110.
Cellular uptake of vitamin B12 (B12) demands binding of the vitamin to transcobalamin (TC) and recognition of TC-B12 (holoTC) by the receptor CD320, a receptor expressed in high quantities on human placenta. We have identified a soluble form of CD320 (sCD320) in serum and here we present data on the occurrence of this soluble receptor in both serum and urine during pregnancy.
We examined serum from twenty-seven pregnant women (cohort 1) at gestational weeks 13, 24 and 36 and serum and urine samples from forty pregnant women (cohort 2) tested up to 8 times during gestational weeks 17-41. sCD320, holoTC, total TC and complex formation between holoTC and sCD320 were measured by in-house ELISA methods, while creatinine was measured on the automatic platform Cobas 6000. Size exclusion chromatography was performed on a Superdex 200 column.
Median (range) of serum sCD320 increased from 125 (87-839) pmol/L (week 15) to reach a peak value of 199 (72-672) pmol/L (week 35) then dropped back to its baseline level just before birth (week 40). Around one third of sCD320 was precipitated with holoTC at all-time points studied. The urinary concentration of sCD320 was around two fold higher than in serum. Urinary sCD320/creatinine ratio correlated with serum sCD320 and reached a peak median level of 53 (30–101) pmol/mmol creatinine (week 35). sCD320 present in serum and urine showed the same elution pattern upon size exclusion chromatography.
We report for the first time that sCD320 is present in urine and in a higher concentration than in serum and that serum and urine sCD320 increase during pregnancy. The high urinary concentration and the strong correlation between urinary and serum sCD320 suggests that sCD320 is filtered in the kidney.
PMCID: PMC3754917  PMID: 24015289
8.  Metformin Lowers Serum Cobalamin without Changing Other Markers of Cobalamin Status: A Study on Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 
Nutrients  2013;5(7):2475-2482.
Treatment with the anti-diabetic drug metformin is followed by a decline in plasma cobalamin, but it is unsettled whether this denotes an impaired cobalamin status. This study has explored changes in the markers of cobalamin status in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome treated with metformin (1.5-2.5 g per day) (n = 29) or placebo (n = 23) for six months. Serum samples were collected before and after two, four, and six months of treatment. We found serum cobalamin to decline and reach significant lower levels after six months of treatment (p = 0.003). Despite the decline in serum cobalamin, we observed no reductions in the physiological active part of cobalamin bound to transcobalamin (holotranscobalamin), or increase in the metabolic marker of cobalamin status, methylmalonic acid. Instead, the non-functional part of circulating cobalamin bound to haptocorrin declined (p = 0.0009). Our results have two implications: The data questions whether metformin treatment induces an impaired cobalamin status in PCOS patients, and further suggests that serum cobalamin is a futile marker for judging cobalamin status in metformin-treated patients.
PMCID: PMC3738982  PMID: 23857221
vitamin B12; cobalamin; metformin; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; haptocorrin; holotranscobalamin
9.  Cobalamin Analogues in Humans: A Study on Maternal and Cord Blood 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61194.
Haptocorrin (HC) carries cobalamin analogues (CorA), but whether CorA are produced in the body is unknown. All cobalamins (Cbl) to the foetus are delivered by the Cbl-specific protein transcobalamin (TC), and therefore analysis of cord serum for CorA may help to clarify the origin of CorA.
HC-CorA were quantified in paired samples of cord serum from newborns and serum from mothers (n = 69).
The CorA-concentration was higher in cord serum (median = 380, range: 41–780 pmol/L) than in serum from the mothers (median = 160, range: 64–330 pmol/L), (p<0.0001). HPLC-analysis showed CorA-peaks with retention times of 13.5, 14,5 and 16.5 min in samples from both the mother and cord serum. The peak with retention time 16.5 min constituted 24% (mother) and 45% (cord serum) of the total amount CorA, and eluted as does dicyanocobinamide.
Our results support that CorA in the human body are derived from Cbl.
PMCID: PMC3621755  PMID: 23585880
10.  Elevated Vitamin B12 Levels in Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome Attributable to Elevated Haptocorrin in Lymphocytes 
Clinical Biochemistry  2012;45(6):490-492.
Identify the etiology of elevated B12 in autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS).
Peripheral blood of ALPS patients with elevated B12 and controls were evaluated.
Total and holo-haptocorrin (HC) levels were 26- and 23-fold higher in ALPS patients, respectively. No abnormal B12-binding proteins were found. Western blot revealed HC in lymphocyte lysates only from ALPS patients.
Elevated concentrations of B12 found in ALPS patients were due to increased lymphocyte expression of HC.
PMCID: PMC3307947  PMID: 22306884
ALPS; vitamin B12; cobalamin; germline; haptocorrin; transcobolamin
11.  Maximal Load of the Vitamin B12 Transport System: A Study on Mice Treated for Four Weeks with High-Dose Vitamin B12 or Cobinamide 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46657.
Several studies suggest that the vitamin B12 (B12) transport system can be used for the cellular delivery of B12-conjugated drugs, also in long-term treatment Whether this strategy will affect the endogenous metabolism of B12 is not known. To study the effect of treatment with excess B12 or an inert derivative, we established a mouse model using implanted osmotic minipumps to deliver saline, cobinamide (Cbi) (4.25 nmol/h), or B12 (1.75 nmol/h) for 27 days (n = 7 in each group). B12 content and markers of B12 metabolism were analysed in plasma, urine, kidney, liver, and salivary glands. Both Cbi and B12 treatment saturated the transcobalamin protein in mouse plasma. Cbi decreased the content of B12 in tissues to 33–50% of the level in control animals but did not influence any of the markers examined. B12 treatment increased the tissue B12 level up to 350%. In addition, the transcript levels for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase in kidneys and for transcobalamin and transcobalamin receptor in the salivary glands were reduced. Our study confirms the feasibility of delivering drugs through the B12 transport system but emphasises that B12 status should be monitored because there is a risk of decreasing the transport of endogenous B12. This risk may lead to B12 deficiency during prolonged treatment.
PMCID: PMC3462184  PMID: 23049711
12.  Cobalamin Related Parameters and Disease Patterns in Patients with Increased Serum Cobalamin Levels 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45979.
Measurement of serum cobalamin levels is routinely used to diagnose cobalamin deficiency. Surprisingly, approximately 15% of patients have high cobalamin levels and no consensus exists regarding the clinical implications.
Hospital-treated patients above 18 years of age referred for serum cobalamin measurement were included in groups of patients [percentage cobalamin supplemented] with low (<200 pmol/L, n = 200 [6%]), normal (200–600, n = 202 [6%]) high (601–1000, n = 217 [27%]) and very high (>1000, n = 199 [53%]) cobalamin levels. Total and cobalamin-saturated (holo) transcobalamin, total haptocorrin, soluble TC receptor, sCD320, and methylmalonic acid were analyzed. Data on diagnoses and medical prescriptions was obtained through medical files and the Aarhus University Prescription Database.
Among patients not cobalamin supplemented median total haptocorrin and holo transcobalamin levels were markedly higher in the groups with high/very high cobalamin levels compared to groups with low/normal cobalamin levels. Median total transcobalamin and sCD320 levels were similar across the groups. A number of diagnoses were significantly associated to very high Cbl levels (odds ratio (95% confidence interval)): alcoholism (5.74 (2.76–11.96)), liver disease (8.53 (3.59–20.23)), and cancer (5.48 (2.85–10.55)). Elevated haptocorrin levels were seen in patients with alcoholism, cancer, liver-, renal-, autoimmune-, and bronchopulmonary disease. No clinical associations to sCD320 and total and holo transcobalamin levels were found.
In non-supplemented patients, high cobalamin levels were associated to high haptocorrin levels, and several diagnoses, including alcoholism, liver disease and cancer. Our study emphasizes that clinicians should take high serum cobalamin levels into consideration in the diagnostic process.
PMCID: PMC3448722  PMID: 23029349
13.  Hypoxia Changes the Expression of the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) System in Human Hearts and Cultured Cardiomyocytes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40243.
The epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors HER2 and HER4 and the ligands HB-EGF and NRG1 are crucial for heart development. The purpose of our study was to investigate the role of the complete EGF system in relation to hypoxia of the heart.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined the mRNA expression by real time PCR of the 4 receptors and 12 ligands from the EGF-system in paired normoxic and hypoxic biopsies isolated from human hearts during coronary artery bypass operation. Compared to normoxic biopsies, hypoxic samples showed down-regulation of HER2 (P = 0.0005) and NRG1 (both α (P = 0.02) and β (P = 0.03) isoforms). In contrast, HB-EGF (P = 0.0008), NRG2β (P = 0.01) and EGFR (P = 0.02) were up-regulated. As HER2 is essential for heart development and we find its expression reduced under hypoxia we investigated the effect of HER2 inhibition in hypoxic HL-1 cardiomyocytes by treatment with trastuzumab (20 nM). This resulted in inhibition of cardiomyocyte proliferation, but interestingly only in hypoxic cells. Co-treatment of HL-1 cells with HB-EGF (10 nM) but not with NRG-1 (5 ng/ml) rescued the cardiomyocytes from HER2 inhibition. HL-1 cardiomyocytes exposed to hypoxia revealed nuclear translocation of activated MAPK and the activity of this downstream signaling molecule was decreased by HER2 inhibition (20 nM trastuzumab), and re-established by HB-EGF (10 nM).
Hypoxia in the human heart alters the expression of the EGF system. Mimicking the HER2 down-regulation seen in the human heart in cultured cardiomyocytes inhibited their proliferation under hypoxic conditions. Interestingly, HB-EGF is induced in the hypoxic human hearts, and rescues hypoxic cardiomyocytes from the effect of HER2 inhibition in the in vitro model. The results have implications for future treatment strategies of patients with ischemic heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3390334  PMID: 22792252
14.  Comparison of Recombinant Human Haptocorrin Expressed in Human Embryonic Kidney Cells and Native Haptocorrin 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37421.
Haptocorrin (HC) is a circulating corrinoid binding protein with unclear function. In contrast to transcobalamin, the other transport protein in blood, HC is heavily glycosylated and binds a variety of cobalamin (Cbl) analogues. HC is present not only in blood but also in various secretions like milk, tears and saliva. No recombinant form of HC has been described so far. We report the expression of recombinant human HC (rhHC) in human embryonic kidney cells. We purified the protein with a yield of 6 mg (90 nmol) per litre of cell culture supernatant. The isolated rhHC behaved as native HC concerning its spectral properties and ability to recognize both Cbl and its baseless analogue cobinamide. Similar to native HC isolated from blood, rhHC bound to the asialoglycoprotein receptor only after removal of terminal sialic acid residues by treatment with neuraminidase. Interestingly, rhHC, that compared to native HC contains four excessive amino acids (…LVPR) at the C-terminus, showed subtle changes in the binding kinetics of Cbl, cobinamide and the fluorescent Cbl conjugate CBC. The recombinant protein has properties very similar to native HC and although showing slightly different ligand binding kinetics, rhHC is valuable for further biochemical and structural studies.
PMCID: PMC3360681  PMID: 22662153
15.  The Cobalamin-Binding Protein in Zebrafish Is an Intermediate between the Three Cobalamin-Binding Proteins in Human 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35660.
In humans, three soluble extracellular cobalamin-binding proteins; transcobalamin (TC), intrinsic factor (IF), and haptocorrin (HC), are involved in the uptake and transport of cobalamin. In this study, we investigate a cobalamin-binding protein from zebrafish (Danio rerio) and summarize current knowledge concerning the phylogenetic evolution of kindred proteins. We identified a cobalamin binding capacity in zebrafish protein extracts (8.2 pmol/fish) and ambient water (13.5 pmol/fish) associated with a single protein. The protein showed resistance toward degradation by trypsin and chymotrypsin (like human IF, but unlike human HC and TC). The cobalamin analogue, cobinamide, bound weaker to the zebrafish cobalamin binder than to human HC, but stronger than to human TC and IF. Affinity for another analogue, adenosyl-pseudo-cobalamin was low compared with human HC and TC, but high compared with human IF. The absorbance spectrum of the purified protein in complex with hydroxo-cobalamin resembled those of human HC and IF, but not TC. We searched available databases to further explore the phylogenies of the three cobalamin-binding proteins in higher vertebrates. Apparently, TC-like proteins are the oldest evolutionary derivatives followed by IF and HC (the latter being present only in reptiles and most but not all mammals). Our findings suggest that the only cobalamin-binding protein in zebrafish is an intermediate between the three human cobalamin binders. These findings support the hypothesis about a common ancestral gene for all cobalamin-binding proteins in higher vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3331988  PMID: 22532867
16.  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
17.  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
18.  Biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status in NHANES: a roundtable summary123456 
A roundtable to discuss the measurement of vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) status biomarkers in NHANES took place in July 2010. NHANES stopped measuring vitamin B-12–related biomarkers after 2006. The roundtable reviewed 3 biomarkers of vitamin B-12 status used in past NHANES—serum vitamin B-12, methylmalonic acid (MMA), and total homocysteine (tHcy)—and discussed the potential utility of measuring holotranscobalamin (holoTC) for future NHANES. The roundtable focused on public health considerations and the quality of the measurement procedures and reference methods and materials that past NHANES used or that are available for future NHANES. Roundtable members supported reinstating vitamin B-12 status measures in NHANES. They noted evolving concerns and uncertainties regarding whether subclinical (mild, asymptomatic) vitamin B-12 deficiency is a public health concern. They identified the need for evidence from clinical trials to address causal relations between subclinical vitamin B-12 deficiency and adverse health outcomes as well as appropriate cutoffs for interpreting vitamin B-12–related biomarkers. They agreed that problems with sensitivity and specificity of individual biomarkers underscore the need for including at least one biomarker of circulating vitamin B-12 (serum vitamin B-12 or holoTC) and one functional biomarker (MMA or tHcy) in NHANES. The inclusion of both serum vitamin B-12 and plasma MMA, which have been associated with cognitive dysfunction and anemia in NHANES and in other population-based studies, was preferable to provide continuity with past NHANES. Reliable measurement procedures are available, and National Institute of Standards and Technology reference materials are available or in development for serum vitamin B-12 and MMA.
PMCID: PMC3127527  PMID: 21593512
19.  Mouse Transcobalamin Has Features Resembling both Human Transcobalamin and Haptocorrin 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20638.
In humans, the cobalamin (Cbl) -binding protein transcobalamin (TC) transports Cbl from the intestine and into all the cells of the body, whereas the glycoprotein haptocorrin (HC), which is present in both blood and exocrine secretions, is able to bind also corrinoids other than Cbl. The aim of this study is to explore the expression of the Cbl-binding protein HC as well as TC in mice. BLAST analysis showed no homologous gene coding for HC in mice. Submaxillary glands and serum displayed one protein capable of binding Cbl. This Cbl-binding protein was purified from 300 submaxillary glands by affinity chromatography. Subsequent sequencing identified the protein as TC. Further characterization in terms of glycosylation status and binding specificity to the Cbl-analogue cobinamide revealed that mouse TC does not bind Concanavalin A sepharose (like human TC), but is capable of binding cobinamide (like human HC). Antibodies raised against mouse TC identified the protein in secretory cells of the submaxillary gland and in the ducts of the mammary gland, i.e. at locations where HC is also found in humans. Analysis of the TC-mRNA level showed a high TC transcript level in these glands and also in the kidney. By precipitation to insolubilised antibodies against mouse TC, we also showed that >97% of the Cbl-binding capacity and >98% of the Cbl were precipitated in serum. This indicates that TC is the only Cbl-binding protein in the mouse circulation. Our data show that TC but not HC is present in the mouse. Mouse TC is observed in tissues where humans express TC and/or HC. Mouse TC has features in common with both human TC and HC. Our results suggest that the Cbl-binding proteins present in the circulation and exocrine glands may vary amongst species.
PMCID: PMC3105116  PMID: 21655200
20.  Activation of ErbB3, EGFR and Erk is essential for growth of human breast cancer cell lines with acquired resistance to fulvestrant 
Seven fulvestrant resistant cell lines derived from the estrogen receptor α positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line were used to investigate the importance of epidermal growth factor receptor (ErbB1-4) signaling. We found an increase in mRNA expression of EGFR and the ErbB3/ErbB4 ligand heregulin2 (hrg2) and a decrease of ErbB4 in all resistant cell lines. Western analyses confirmed the upregulation of EGFR and hrg2 and the downregulation of ErbB4. Elevated activation of EGFR and ErbB3 was seen in all resistant cell lines and the ErbB3 activation occurred by an autocrine mechanism. ErbB4 activation was observed only in the parental MCF-7 cells. The downstream kinases pAkt and pErk were increased in five of seven and in all seven resistant cell lines, respectively. Treatment with the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib preferentially inhibited growth and reduced the S phase fraction in the resistant cell lines concomitant with inhibition of Erk and unaltered Akt activation. In concert, inhibition of Erk with U0126 preferentially reduced growth of resistant cell lines. Treatment with ErbB3 neutralizing antibodies inhibited ErbB3 activation and resulted in a modest but statistically significant growth inhibition of two resistant cell lines. These data indicate that ligand activated ErbB3 and EGFR, and Erk signaling play important roles in fulvestrant resistant cell growth. Furthermore, the decreased level of ErbB4 in resistant cells may facilitate heterodimerization of ErbB3 with EGFR and ErbB2. Our data support that a concerted action against EGFR, ErbB2 and ErbB3 may be required to obtain complete growth suppression of fulvestrant resistant cells.
PMCID: PMC2764248  PMID: 18409071
Breast cancer; Fulvestrant resistance; EGFR; ErbB3; ErbB4; Erk; Akt; Heregulin2; Gefitinib; Autocrine stimulation
21.  Stability of 35 biochemical and immunological routine tests after 10 hours storage and transport of human whole blood at 21°C 
Suitable procedures for transport of blood samples from general practitioners to hospital laboratories are requested. Here we explore routine testing on samples stored and transported as whole blood in lithium-heparin or serum tubes.
Blood samples were collected from 106 hospitalized patients, and analyzed on Architect c8000 or Advia Centaur XP for 35 analytes at base line, and after storage and transport of whole blood in lithium-heparin or serum tubes at 21 ± 1°C for 10 h. Bias and imprecision (representing variation from analysis and storage) were calculated from values at baseline and after storage, and differences tested by paired t-tests. Results were compared to goals set by the laboratory.
We observed no statistically significant bias and results within the goal for imprecision between baseline samples and 10-h samples for albumin, alkaline phosphatase, antitrypsin, bilirubin, creatinine, free triiodothyronine, γ-glutamyl transferase, haptoglobin, immunoglobulin G, lactate dehydrogenase, prostate specific antigen, total carbon dioxide, and urea. Alanine aminotransferase, amylase, C-reactive protein, calcium, cholesterol, creatine kinase, ferritin, free thyroxine, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin M, orosomucoid, sodium, transferrin, and triglycerides met goals for imprecision, though they showed a minor, but statistically significant bias in results after storage. Cobalamin, folate, HDL-cholesterol, iron, phosphate, potassium, thyroid stimulating hormone and urate warranted concern, but only folate and phosphate showed deviations of clinical importance.
We conclude that whole blood in lithium-heparin or serum tubes stored for 10 h at 21 ± 1°C, may be used for routine analysis without restrictions for all investigated analytes but folate and phosphate.
PMCID: PMC4219582  PMID: 24988314
Folic acid; laboratory test; phosphate; potassium; pre-analytical; sample transportation; storage temperature; storage time
22.  Monitoring of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor-Sensitizing and Resistance Mutations in the Plasma DNA of Patients With Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer During Treatment With Erlotinib 
Cancer  2014;120(24):3896-3901.
The feasibility of monitoring epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in plasma DNA from patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during treatment with erlotinib and its relation to disease progression was investigated.
The amount of EGFR-mutant DNA was tested in plasma DNA from patients with advanced NSCLC with allele-specific polymerase chain reaction assays. Blood samples from 23 patients with adenocarcinoma of NSCLC that carried tyrosine kinase inhibitor-sensitizing EGFR mutations were taken immediately before treatment with erlotinib. Additional blood samples were taken at timed intervals until erlotinib treatment was withdrawn.
The amount of plasma DNA with sensitizing EGFR mutations was found to be reduced after the first cycle of erlotinib treatment in 22 of 23 patients (96%). No patients presented with the resistant T790M mutation in the pretreatment sample, but at the time of disease progression the mutation was detected in plasma from 9 patients (39%). The quantitative data from the current study demonstrated that when a T790M mutation emerged in the blood it was accompanied by an increase in the original sensitizing EGFR mutation. When T790M was detected, it was found to be present in all subsequent blood samples from that patient. Most interestingly, the results of the current study demonstrated that monitoring the EGFR mutations in the blood allows for the detection of the T790M mutation up to 344 days before disease progression is clinically evident (range, 15-344 days).
The results of the current study demonstrated that serial monitoring of EGFR mutations in plasma DNA is feasible and may allow for the early detection of resistance mutations. These results warrant further studies to explore the clinical usefulness of such analysis.
PMCID: PMC4303984  PMID: 25103305
epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations; plasma DNA; erlotinib; lung cancer; resistance

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