The cobalamin status of 27 patients suffering from alcoholic cirrhosis and 20 control subjects was analyzed. Plasma cobalamin (p < 0.005), total corrinoids (p < 0.005) and their analogs (p < 0.05) were all significantly elevated in the cirrhosis patients. These differences were due to increased haptocorrin (HC)-bound corrinoid (p < 0.02), which could be explained by a deficient hepatic clearance of cobalamin bound to HC. The increase in the concentration of true cobalamin was greater than that of its analogs. There were positive correlations between cholestasis (serum alkaline phosphatase) and plasma analog concentrations (p < 0.05), HC-bound cobalamin (p < 0.005) and total corrinoids bound to HC (p < 0.005). The plasma concentrations of the indicators of cobalamin deficiency, homocysteine (p < 0.05) and methylmalonic acid (p < 0.001), were increased, which could indicate poor cellular penetration of vitamin B12 or a defect in the activation of the two vitamin-B12-dependent enzymes.
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