The lack of vitamin B1 (thiami

The lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) can lead to adisease called beriberi, which manifests as cardiac and neurologicsymptoms alongside elevated levels of pyruvate and α-ketoglutaratein the blood. Explain how a deficiency of this vitamin causes theincreased levels of the twocomponents.       


Thiamine (Vitamin B1) act through its coenzyme form i.e.Thiamine Pyrophosphate (TPP) which is mostly involved incarbohydrate metabolism.

Functions of TPP:

1. The multienzyme complex pyruvatedehydrogenase that catalyses (oxidative decarboxylation)the breakdown of pyruvate into Acetyl CoA and CO2 requires TPP ason of the coenzyme. Hence in the deficiency of thiamine, reactionwill not occur and hence the concentration of pyruvateincreases.

2. Oxidative decarboxylation ofAlpha ketoglutarate to Succinyl CoA in KREBS CYCLE is catalyzed byalpha ketoglutarate dehydrogenase which requires 5 coenzymes tofunction: TPP, NAD, FAD, CoA, Lipoamide. When TPP decreasesreaction cannot continue further, hence the concentration of alphaketoglutarate gets increased.

In Thiamine deficiency glucose metabolism is impaired. Thisaffects the central nervous system since it is dependent on glucosefor its energy needs. Nerve impulse conduction is adverselyaffected. There is accumulation of pyruvate causing vasodilationand increased cardiac output. Prolonged thiamine deficiency causesa condition called beriberi.  

Wet beriberi: because of impaired energy metabolism in themyocardium, peripheral vasodilation occurs causing a high outputstate, biventricular heart failure with pulmonary congestion andretention of sodium and water leading to edema. Death occurs due toheart failure.

Dry beriberi: in this type the nervous system is affected. Itpresents with progressive muscle wasting, peripheral neuropathy ofthe motor and the sensory systems with reduced reflexes. Walkingbecomes difficult and patient feels difficulty in rising from asquatting position.

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