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Metabolism of amino acids in cats with severe cobalamin deficiency

Craig G. Ruaux BVSc, PhD1, Jörg M. Steiner PhD2, and David A. Williams VetMB, PhD3
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  • 1 Gastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 2 Gastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 3 Gastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.

Abstract

Objective—To validate an automated chemiluminescent immunoassay for measuring serum cobalamin concentration in cats, to establish and validate gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques for use in quantification of methylmalonic acid, homocysteine, cysteine, cystathionine, and methionine in sera from cats, and to investigate serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid, methionine, homocysteine, cystathionine, and cysteine as indicators of biochemical abnormalities accompanying severe cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency in cats.

Sample Population—Serum samples of 40 cats with severe cobalamin deficiency (serum cobalamin concentration < 100 ng/L) and 24 control cats with serum cobalamin concentration within the reference range.

Procedure—Serum concentrations of cobalamin were measured, using a commercial automated chemiluminescent immunoassay. Serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid, methionine, homocysteine, cystathionine, and cysteine were measured, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, selected ion monitoring, stable-isotope dilution assays.

Results—Cats with cobalamin deficiency had significant increases in mean serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid (9,607 nmol/L), compared with healthy cats (448 nmol/L). Affected cats also had substantial disturbances in amino acid metabolism, compared with healthy cats, with significantly increased serum concentrations of methionine (133.8 vs 101.1 µmol/L) and significantly decreased serum concentrations of cystathionine (449.6 vs 573.2 nmol/L) and cysteine (142.3 vs 163.9 µmol/L). There was not a significant difference in serum concentrations of homocysteine between the 2 groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats with gastrointestinal tract disease may have abnormalities in amino acid metabolism consistent with cobalamin deficiency. Parenteral administration of cobalamin may be necessary to correct these biochemical abnormalities. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1852–1858)

Abstract

Objective—To validate an automated chemiluminescent immunoassay for measuring serum cobalamin concentration in cats, to establish and validate gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques for use in quantification of methylmalonic acid, homocysteine, cysteine, cystathionine, and methionine in sera from cats, and to investigate serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid, methionine, homocysteine, cystathionine, and cysteine as indicators of biochemical abnormalities accompanying severe cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency in cats.

Sample Population—Serum samples of 40 cats with severe cobalamin deficiency (serum cobalamin concentration < 100 ng/L) and 24 control cats with serum cobalamin concentration within the reference range.

Procedure—Serum concentrations of cobalamin were measured, using a commercial automated chemiluminescent immunoassay. Serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid, methionine, homocysteine, cystathionine, and cysteine were measured, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, selected ion monitoring, stable-isotope dilution assays.

Results—Cats with cobalamin deficiency had significant increases in mean serum concentrations of methylmalonic acid (9,607 nmol/L), compared with healthy cats (448 nmol/L). Affected cats also had substantial disturbances in amino acid metabolism, compared with healthy cats, with significantly increased serum concentrations of methionine (133.8 vs 101.1 µmol/L) and significantly decreased serum concentrations of cystathionine (449.6 vs 573.2 nmol/L) and cysteine (142.3 vs 163.9 µmol/L). There was not a significant difference in serum concentrations of homocysteine between the 2 groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cats with gastrointestinal tract disease may have abnormalities in amino acid metabolism consistent with cobalamin deficiency. Parenteral administration of cobalamin may be necessary to correct these biochemical abnormalities. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1852–1858)