Assessment of brain cognitive functions in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency using resting state functional MRI: A longitudinal study

Magn Reson Imaging. 2016 Feb;34(2):191-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2015.10.026. Epub 2015 Oct 31.


Introduction: The resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI) approach is useful to explore the brain's functional organization in health and disease conditions. In this study, using rsfMRI the alteration in brain due to vitamin B12 deficiency and reversibility of these alterations following therapy was studied.

Methods: Thirteen patients with clinical and biochemical evidence of vitamin B12 deficiency were recruited in this study. Fifteen age and sex matched healthy controls were also included. Patients and controls were clinically evaluated using neuropsychological test (NPT). The analysis was carried out using regional homogeneity (ReHo) and low frequency oscillations (LFO) of BOLD signals in resting state. Six patients were also evaluated with rsfMRI and NPT after 6 weeks replacement therapy.

Results: ReHo values in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency were significantly lower than controls in the entire cerebrum and the brain networks associated with cognition control, i.e., default mode, cingulo-opercular and fronto-parietal network. There was no significant difference using LFO and it did not show significant correlations with NPT scores. ReHo showed significant correlation with NPT scores. All the 6 patients showed increase in ReHo after replacement therapy.

Conclusion: We conclude that brain networks associated with cognition control are altered in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency, which partially recover following six weeks of replacement therapy. This is the first study to evaluate the rsfMRI in the light of clinical neuropsychological evaluation in patients. rsfMRI may be used as functional biomarker to assess therapeutic response in vitamin B12 deficiency patients.

Keywords: Brain cognitive networks; Neuropsychological test; Regional homogeneity; Resting-state fMRI; Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / pathology
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rest
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult