Over the last few years we have reproduced all of the key morphological and biochemical features of human subacute combined degeneration in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system of rats made cobalamin-deficient by means of total gastrectomy or a chronic cobalamin-deficient diet. We have also recently clarified the pathogenesis of experimental subacute combined degeneration induced in the rat by cobalamin deprivation. The results of our studies strongly support the notion that cobalamin plays a pivotal role in regulating the balance of the network of cytokines and growth factors in the central nervous system of the rat. We have demonstrated that cobalamin tightly regulates the central nervous system synthesis and/or the cerebrospinal fluid level of two cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6, and a growth factor, epidermal growth factor. Of these neuroactive agents, one, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, is neurotoxic, whereas the others are neurotrophic. Therefore, it becomes clear that cobalamin-deficient central neuropathy is caused not by the withdrawal of the vitamin, but reflects a locally increased production of neurotoxic agents, combined with the locally decreased production of neurotrophic agents.