Decreased intrinsic factor secretion in AIDS: relation to parietal cell acid secretory capacity and vitamin B12 malabsorption.


Herzlich BC, Schiano TD, Moussa Z




Am J Gastroenterol


AIDS-associated gastric secretory failure has been characterized by decreased secretion of acid, pepsin, and gastric juice volume. To determine whether decreased intrinsic factor secretion and vitamin B12 malabsorption occur in this entity, we performed prospective measurements of maximal acid output, intrinsic factor output, vitamin B12 absorption, serum vitamin B12, and holotranscobalamin II in 10 consecutive AIDS patients. Four of 10 patients had low maximal acid output, i.e., < or = 1.5 mEq/h (control = 12.8 +/- 9.0, range 2.5-25 mEq/h). Four patients had low intrinsic factor output, i.e., < or = 1.1 microgram/h (control = 8.2 +/- 6.9, range 3.1-19.4 micrograms/h). One patient with low intrinsic factor output had low serum vitamin B12 and a Schilling test consistent with pernicious anemia. A second patient with very low intrinsic factor output (0.16 micrograms/h) had low parts I and II Schilling tests; malabsorption most likely resulted from both low intrinsic factor secretion and ileal disease. One of three vitamin B12 malabsorbing patients, with normal serum vitamin B12, had low holotranscobalamin II, 25 pg/ml (control holotranscobalamin II = 76 +/- 44, range 44-152 pg/ml). Maximal acid output and intrinsic factor output did not correlate in AIDS (r = 0.36, p = 0.30) in contrast to the expected correlation in controls (r = 0.91, p = 0.03). We conclude that low intrinsic factor secretion is common in AIDS and contributes to vitamin B12 malabsorption. Decreased parietal cell secretion of intrinsic factor and acid may occur independently in human immunodeficiency virus-associated gastric secretory failure. Low holotranscobalamin II, an early manifestation of vitamin B12 malabsorption, results in decreased delivery to vitamin B12-dependent tissues prior to depletion of serum vitamin B12. Regular supplementation with vitamin B12 may therefore be warranted in patients with advanced HIV infection.