High frequency of vitamin B12 deficiency in asymptomatic individuals homozygous to MTHFR C677T mutation is associated with endothelial dysfunction and homocysteinemia

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Jul;293(1):H860-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01189.2006. Epub 2007 Apr 20.


The aim of this study was to examine the association of homozygosity for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T mutation and vitamin B12 deficiency in 360 asymptomatic individuals and to investigate forearm endothelial function in C677T homozygotes. MTHFR C677T mutation and levels of vitamin B12, folic acid, and homocysteine were measured in study participants. Frequency of homozygosity for the C677T mutation was 67/360 (18.6%). Homocysteine levels were elevated in homozygous compared with heterozygous subjects or those without the mutation (20.6 +/- 18.8 vs. 9.4 +/- 3.2 mumol/l; P < 0.0001). The number of subjects with vitamin B12 deficiency (<150 pmol/l) was significantly higher among the homozygote than the heterozygote subjects or subjects without mutation [20/67 (29.8%) vs. 27/293 (9.2%); P < 0.0001]. Homozygote subjects had 4.2 times higher probability of having B12 deficiency (95% confidence interval = 2.1-8.3). Forearm endothelial function was assessed in 33 homozygote and 12 control subjects. Abnormal endothelial function was observed in homozygous subjects and was worse in homozygote subjects with vitamin B12 deficiency. Endothelial function was normalized after B12 and folic acid treatment. We found that homozygosity for the C677T mutation is strongly associated with B12 deficiency. Coexistence of homozygosity for the C677T mutation and B12 deficiency is associated with endothelial dysfunction and can be corrected with vitamin B12 and folic acid treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Humans
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / epidemiology*
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / genetics*
  • Incidence
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2) / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Vascular Diseases / genetics*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / genetics*


  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2)