Korean J Lab Med.  2010 Apr;30(2):185-189. 10.3343/kjlm.2010.30.2.185.

Relationship between the Levels of Holotranscobalamin and Vitamin B12

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Dong-A University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea. jyhan@dau.ac.kr
  • 2Abbott Korea Ltd., Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Medical Research Center Molecular Therapy, Dong-A University, Busan, Korea.


To date, the determination of serum vitamin B12 levels has been the most common laboratory test for the assessment of vitamin B12 status; however, the diagnostic accuracy of this test is low. To obtain a more sensitive marker, a new test to measure holotranscobalamin (holoTC) levels has been introduced. In this study, we assessed 45 patients for whom a vitamin B12 test had been requested and 139 anemic patients. We investigated the associations between the levels of homocysteine (Hcy) and those of holoTC, serum vitamin B12, and folate and assessed the diagnostic value of holoTC levels as a marker for vitamin B12 deficiency. We also determined the precision of the AxSYM holoTC assay by calculating the coefficient of variance (CV). The within-run and between-run precision values were excellent, as all CV values were less than 3.5%. The holoTC levels were low (<35 pmol/L) in 7 samples, and 6 of these samples had normal total serum vitamin B12 levels. In 2 of these samples, high Hcy levels (>12 micromol/L) indicated vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus, the holoTC levels were more sensitive than the serum vitamin B12 levels for indicating vitamin B12 status. If the serum vitamin B12 level is 151-300 pmol/L, the levels of holoTC alone or in combination with serum vitamin B12 levels are likely to be more useful markers than serum vitamin B12 levels alone.


Holotranscobalamin; Vitamin B12 deficiency; Vitamin B12; Homocysteine

MeSH Terms

Aged, 80 and over
Analysis of Variance
Biological Markers/blood
Folic Acid/blood
Middle Aged
Vitamin B 12/*blood
Vitamin B 12 Deficiency/diagnosis
Young Adult


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