Abnormal vitamin B12 metabolism in human immunodeficiency virus infection. Association with neurological dysfunction

Arch Neurol. 1991 Mar;48(3):312-4. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1991.00530150082023.


An increased prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency has been reported in patients infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We report an unexpectedly high prevalence (20%) of such abnormal vitamin B12 metabolism in a population of HIV-infected patients referred for neurological evaluation. This abnormality was associated with both peripheral neuropathy and myelopathy. A majority of those treated with cyanocobalamin had a therapeutic response. Selected neuropathological results suggest a relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and vacuolar myelopathy. Vitamin B12 deficiency may be a frequent and treatable cause of neurological dysfunction in patients with HIV infection.

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / metabolism*
  • HIV Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / etiology
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*


  • Vitamin B 12