P5P Abstracts 2

© 2010

Vitamin B6: a molecule for human health?

            (Hellmann and Mooney 2010) Download

Vitamin B6 is an intriguing molecule that is involved in a wide range of metabolic, physiological and developmental processes. Based on its water solubility and high reactivity when phosphorylated, it is a suitable co-factor for many biochemical processes. Furthermore the vitamin is a potent antioxidant, rivaling carotenoids or tocopherols in its ability to quench reactive oxygen species. It is therefore not surprising that the vitamin is essential and unquestionably important for the cellular metabolism and well-being of all living organisms. The review briefly summarizes the biosynthetic pathways of vitamin B6 in pro- and eukaryotes and its diverse roles in enzymatic reactions. Finally, because in recent years the vitamin has often been considered beneficial for human health, the review will also sum up and critically reflect on current knowledge how human health can profit from vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6: Killing two birds with one stone?

            (Mooney and Hellmann 2010) Download

Vitamin B6 comprises a group of compounds that are involved in a surprisingly high diversity of biochemical reactions. Actually, most of these reactions are co-catalyzed by a single B6 vitamer, pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, making it a crucial and versatile co-factor in many metabolic processes in the cell. In addition, it has been demonstrated in recent years that vitamin B6 has a second important function by being an effective antioxidant. Because of these two characteristics the vitamin is an interesting compound to study in plants. This review provides a brief overview and update on such important aspects like vitamin B6-dependent enzymes and known biosynthetic pathways in plants, phenotypes of plant mutants affected in vitamin B6 biosynthesis, and the potential benefits of modifying vitamin B6 content in plants.

Vitamin B6: a long known compound of surprising complexity

            (Mooney, Leuendorf et al. 2009) Download

In recent years vitamin B6 has become a focus of research describing the compound's critical function in cellular metabolism and stress response. For many years the sole function of vitamin B6 was considered to be that of an enzymatic cofactor. However, recently it became clear that it is also a potent antioxidant that effectively quenches reactive oxygen species and is thus of high importance for cellular well-being. In view of the recent findings, the current review takes a look back and summarizes the discovery of vitamin B6 and the elucidation of its structure and biosynthetic pathways. It provides a detailed overview on vitamin B6 both as a cofactor and a protective compound. Besides these general characteristics of the vitamin, the review also outlines the current literature on vitamin B6 derivatives and elaborates on recent findings that provide new insights into transport and catabolism of the compound and on its impact on human health.

Vitamin B6 status, deficiency and its consequences--an overview

            (Spinneker, Sola et al. 2007) Download

BACKGROUND: Vitamin B6 is thought to be a most versatile coenzyme that participates in more than 100 biochemical reactions. It is involved in amino acid and homocysteine metabolism, glucose and lipid metabolism, neurotransmitter production and DNA/RNA synthesis. Vitamin B6 can also be a modulator of gene expression. Nowadays, clinically evident vitamin B6 deficiency is not a common disorder, at least in the general population. Nevertheless, a subclinical, undiagnosed deficiency may be present in some subjects, particularly in the elderly. OBJECTIVE: This review gives a complete overview over the metabolism and interactions of vitamin B6. Further, we show which complications and deficiency symptoms can occur due to a lack of vitamin B6 and possibilities for public health and supplemental interventions. METHODS: The database Medline (www.ncvi.nlm.nih.gov) was searched for terms like "vitamin B6", "pyridoxal", "cancer", "homocysteine", etc. For a complete understanding, we included studies with early findings from the forties as well as recent results from 2006. These studies were summarised and compared in different chapters. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: In fact, it has been proposed that suboptimal vitamin B6 status is associated with certain diseases that particularly afflict the elderly population: impaired cognitive function, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, and different types of cancer. Some of these problems may be related to the elevated homocysteine concentrations associated to vitamin B6 deficiency, but there is also evidence for other mechanisms independent of homocysteine by which a suboptimal vitamin B6 status could increase the risk for these chronic diseases.


Hellmann, H. and S. Mooney (2010). "Vitamin B6: a molecule for human health?" Molecules 15(1): 442-59.

Mooney, S. and H. Hellmann (2010). "Vitamin B6: Killing two birds with one stone?" Phytochemistry 71(5-6): 495-501.

Mooney, S., J. E. Leuendorf, et al. (2009). "Vitamin B6: a long known compound of surprising complexity." Molecules 14(1): 329-51.

Spinneker, A., R. Sola, et al. (2007). "Vitamin B6 status, deficiency and its consequences--an overview." Nutr Hosp 22(1): 7-24.