Association of vitamin B12 deficiency with fatigue and depression after lacunar stroke

PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30519. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030519. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Background: In lacunar stroke patients vitamin B12 deficiency is often found and a relationship with the degree of periventricular white matter lesions (pWMLs) is suggested. Given the known relationships between WMLs and depression and between depression and fatigue after stroke, we studied both depression and fatigue in lacunar stroke patients with and without vitamin B12 deficiency.

Methods: In 40 first-ever lacunar stroke patients vitamin B12 levels were determined and self-report questionnaires for fatigue and depression were completed three months after stroke.

Results: Lacunar stroke patients with vitamin B12 deficiency (N = 13) reported significantly more fatigue (90.7 versus 59.4; p = .001) and depressive symptoms (6.62 versus 3.89; p<.05) than those without (N = 27). In regression analyses, vitamin B12 deficiency was significantly and independently associated with the presence of severe fatigue and clinically significant depression.

Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggest a relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and increased levels of fatigue and depression in lacunar stroke patients. If these findings could be replicated in a larger and general stroke sample, this would open treatment options and may improve quality of life after stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke, Lacunar / physiopathology*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / physiopathology*