Table of Contents
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2011, Article ID 365894, 8 pages
Research Article

Assessment of the Vitamin B12 Status of Pregnant Women in Nigeria Using Plasma Holotranscobalamin

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, MSC08 4670, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, PMB 2076, Nigeria
3Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Jos, Jos, PMB 2076, Nigeria
4TriCore Reference Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA

Received 16 March 2011; Accepted 18 May 2011

Academic Editor: M. Lappas

Copyright © 2011 Dorothy J. VanderJagt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Maternal vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for neural tube defects and other neurological problems in infants. We determined the vitamin B12 status of 143 pregnant women in Nigeria representing all trimesters who presented to an antenatal clinic in Jos, Nigeria, using holotranscobalamin II levels (holoTCII), which is a measure of the vitamin B12 that is available for uptake into tissues. The holoTCII concentration ranged from 13 to 128 pmol/L. Using a cutoff of 40 pmol/L, 36% of the women were classified as vitamin B12-deficient. HoloTCII concentrations correlated negatively with plasma homocysteine levels ( π‘Ÿ = βˆ’ 0 . 2 4 , 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 3 ) and positively with red blood cell folate concentrations ( π‘Ÿ = 0 . 2 8 , 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 1 ). These data underscore the importance of supplementing pregnant women in Nigeria with vitamin B12 in order to ensure adequate vitamin B12 status and decrease the risk for neural tube defects.