The activities of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-CH3THF) related enzymes and DNA polymerase alpha were determined in bone marrow cells obtained from patients with vitamin B12 deficient megaloblastic anemia and compared with those from healthy volunteers and patients with hemolytic anemia. 5-CH3THF homocysteine methyltransferase activity was significantly lower than that in the control subjects. 5,10- methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase activity was only slightly elevated to that in the control subjects. DNA polymerase alpha activity was significantly higher than that in the control. High deoxyuridine suppression test values in vitamin B12 deficient bone marrow cells were improved by tetrahydrofolate, but not by 5-CH3THF. These data indicate that, even though the reverse reaction catalyzed by 5,10- methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase may be operative in vitamin B12 deficiency, it is not sufficient to correct the disturbance in folate metabolism in vitamin B12 deficiency. Increased DNA polymerase alpha activity may be due to compensation for disarranged DNA synthesis.

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