Serum cobalamin (vitamin B12) and unsaturated B12 binding capacity (UBBC) have been measured in 24 cases of hypereosinophilia: 16 were cases of hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) and 8 of secondary eosinophilia. The two groups were similar with respect to absolute eosinophil counts. Serum cobalamin and UBBC were found to be markedly increased in most cases of HES and normal in secondary eosinophilia. This elevation of UBBC was mainly related to the increase of R binders (transcobalamins I and III). The elevated serum cobalamin and R binders in HES were due neither to a higher intracellular content of R binders nor to an increased release of these binders from eosinophils of HES. Pure fractions of eosinophils obtained from HES and secondary eosinophilia did not exhibit any difference in vitamin B12 binders. On the other hand, neutrophil-rich fractions from the same patients showed a higher content of intracellular B12 binding proteins than pure eosinophil fractions, irrespective of the cause of eosinophilia. These findings suggest that the increased serum vitamin B12 and UBBC could reflect an expanded pool of both eosinophils and neutrophils in HES and, thus, provide an additional argument for the inclusion of this syndrome in the group of myeloproliferative disorders.

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