Quantitative assessment of maternal biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism and neural tube defects.
ABSTRACT: Periconceptional supplementation with folic acid reduces the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs). The association between maternal abnormalities in homocysteine metabolism (e.g., hyperhomocysteinaemia, folate deficiency and low vitamin B12) and the risk of NTDs-affected pregnancies has been widely evaluated in recent years, although the results are conflicting. To investigate this inconsistency, we performed a meta-analysis of 32 studies, involving 1,890 NTD-affected mothers and 3,995 control mothers, to develop an understanding of the relationship between maternal biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism and NTD. A random-effects model was used to calculate the ratio of means (RoM) between the cases and controls, along with the 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A significant increase in homocysteine levels was observed in NTD-affected mothers compared with controls (RoM: 1.16, 95% CI: 1.09-1.23, P = 1.8 × 10(-6)). The pooled analysis also revealed that NTD-affected mothers had significantly lower levels of folate (RoM: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88-0.97, P = 0.002), vitamin B12 (RoM: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.87-0.95, P = 3.6 × 10(-5)) and red blood cell folate (RoM: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.86-0.98, P = 0.01). Therefore, altered plasma levels of biomarkers related to one-carbon metabolism are associated with NTD-affected pregnancies.
Project description:Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious birth defects with an estimated worldwide incidence of 1 per 1,000 live births. The multifactorial nature of NTDs in humans has made it difficult to elucidate pathogenesis mechanisms. However, a strong relationship has been established between folate-homocysteine metabolism and NTD risk. Prevention of a substantial proportion of fetal NTDs can be achieved through maternal folic acid (FA) supplementation. However the mechanism by which FA exerts its beneficial effect remains unclear. METHODS: To improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of NTD pathogenesis and the ways in which folate exerts its beneficial effect, we analyzed mRNA profiles as well as folate and vitamin B12 levels in five NTD mouse mutants whose response to dietary FA was previously established. RESULTS: Differentially expressed genes representing the effect of each NTD-causing mutation were identified and associated with biologic pathways. Interestingly, the panel of NTD mutants collectively revealed pathways related to two nuclear receptors, retinoid X receptor (RXR) and pregnane X receptor (PXR), suggesting that these pathways may be related to a shared mechanism of NTD development. Moreover, the NTD-causing mutations that were associated with FA responsiveness had expression profiles that were related to folate-homocysteine metabolic pathways. These pathways were not strongly associated with mutants that do not respond to FA supplementation, implying that FA may be beneficial when the NTD mutation affects pathways related to folate-homocysteine metabolism. 5 groups of NTD mutants were studied. From each mutant group Heterozygous (test) and wild-type (control) female pups were used for this study at 6-8 weeks of age. 4 biological replicates were used for each of the test and control groups of each mutant. All mice used for the experiments were fasted 4-5 hours before dissection. A total of 36 samples were analyzed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neural tube defects (NTDs) are birth defects of the brain, spine, or spinal cord invoked by the insufficient intake of folic acid in the early stages of pregnancy and have a complex etiology involving both genetic and environmental factors. So the study aimed to explore the association between alterations in maternal one-carbon metabolism and NTDs in the offspring. METHODS:We conducted a case-control study to get a deeper insight into this association, as well as into the role of genetic polymorphisms. Plasma concentrations of folate, homocysteine (Hcy), S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) and genotypes and alleles distributions of 52 SNPs in 8 genes were compared for 61 women with NTDs-affected offspring and 61 women with healthy ones. RESULTS:There were significant differences between groups with regard to plasma folate, SAM, SAH and SAM/SAH levels. Logistic regression results revealed a significant association between maternal plasma folate level and risk of NTDs in the offspring. For MTHFD1 rs2236225 polymorphism, mothers having GA genotype and A allele exhibited an increased risk of NTDs in the offspring (OR = 2.600, 95%CI: 1.227-5.529; OR = 1.847, 95%CI: 1.047-3.259). For MTHFR rs1801133 polymorphism, mothers having TT and CT genotypes were more likely to affect NTDs in the offspring (OR = 4.105, 95%CI: 1.271-13.258; OR = 3.333, 95%CI: 1.068-10.400). Moreover, mothers carrying T allele had a higher risk of NTDs in the offspring (OR = 1.798, 95%CI: 1.070-3.021). For MTRR rs1801394 polymorphism, the frequency of G allele was significantly higher in cases than in controls (OR = 1.763, 95%CI: 1.023-3.036). Mothers with NTDs-affected children had higher AG genotype in RFC1 rs1051226 polymorphism than controls, manifesting an increased risk for NTDs (OR = 3.923, 95%CI: 1.361-11.308). CONCLUSION:Folic acid deficiency, MTHFD1 rs2236225, MTHFR rs1801133, MTRR rs1801349 and RFC1 rs1051226 polymorphisms may be maternal risk factors of NTDs.
Project description:Folate hydrolase 1 (FOLH1) gene encodes intestinal folate hydrolase, which regulates intestinal absorption of dietary folate. Previous studies on the association between polymorphisms rs202676 and rs61886492 and the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) were inconclusive. A case-control study of women with NTD-affected pregnancies (n = 160) and controls (n = 320) was conducted in the Chinese population of Lvliang, a high-risk area for NTDs. We genotyped the polymorphic sites rs202676 and rs61886492 and assessed maternal plasma folate and total homocysteine (tHcy). Our results showed that in case group, plasma folate concentrations were 18 % lower compared with those of control group (8.32 vs. 6.79 nmol/L, p = 0.033) and tHcy concentrations were 17 % higher (10.47 vs. 12.65 ?mol/L, p = 0.047). Almost all samples had the rs61886492 GG genotype (99.78 %). The result showed that the frequency of GG genotype in rs202676 was significantly higher in group with multiple NTDs than in controls (p = 0.030, OR = 2.157, 95 % CI, 1.06-4.38). The multiple-NTD group showed higher maternal plasma concentrations of tHcy (10.47 vs. 13.96 ?mol/L, p = 0.024). The GG genotype of rs202676 had a lower maternal folate and higher tHcy concentrations than other genotypes with no significant differences. The result of structural prediction indicated that this variation might change the spatial structure of the protein. These results suggested that the maternal polymorphism rs202676 was a potential risk factor for multiple NTDs in this Chinese population. The allele G might affect maternal plasma folate and tHcy concentration.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Women with a previous neural tube defect (NTD)-affected pregnancy are recommended to consume 4,000??g daily folic acid (FA) for prevention (10 times the general-population recommendation). Protection from doses between 400 and 4,000??g for this and other higher risk groups is unclear. METHODS:In the case-control Slone Birth Defects Study (1988-2015), we examined the associations between periconceptional FA doses and NTDs among four higher risk groups: NTD family history, periconceptional antiepileptic drug exposure (AED), pregestational diabetes, and prepregnancy obesity. Mothers completed standardized interviews about pregnancy events and exposures. FA categorizations were based on (a) supplements only and (b) supplements and diet ("total folate"). We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) (adjusted for age and study center) using logistic regression. RESULTS:Cases and controls included: 45 and 119 with family history, 25 and 108 with AED exposure, 12 and 63 with pregestational diabetes, 111 and 1,243 with obesity. Daily FA supplementation was associated with lower NTD risk compared to no supplementation (adjusted ORs were 0.33 [95% CI 0.13, 0.76] for family history, 0.31 [0.09, 0.95] for AED exposure, 0.25 [0.04, 1.05] for pregestational diabetes, 0.65 [0.40, 1.04] for obesity). Though estimates were imprecise, as total folate increased stronger point estimates were observed, notably among family history. No mothers with a prior NTD-affected pregnancy supplemented with 4,000??g. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings reinforce that all women of childbearing potential should consume at least 400??g FA/day to protect against NTDs. Higher risk groups may benefit from higher doses.
Project description:Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common, serious malformations with a complex etiology that suggests involvement of both genetic and environmental factors. The authors evaluated maternal or offspring folate-related gene variants and interactions between the gene variants and maternal intake of folates on the risk of NTDs in their offspring. A case-control study was conducted on mothers and/or their fetuses and infants who were born in California from 1999 to 2003 with an NTD (cases n = 222, including 24 mother-infant pairs) or without a major malformation (controls n = 454, including 186 mother-infant pairs). Maternal intake of folates was assessed by food frequency questionnaire and genotyping was performed on samples from mothers and infants. For mothers in the lowest folate-intake group, risk of NTDs in offspring was significantly decreased for maternal MTHFR SNPs rs1476413, rs1801131, and rs1801133 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.55, 80% confidence interval [CI]: 0.20, 1.48; OR = 0.58, 80% CI: 0.24, 1.43; OR = 0.69, 80% CI: 0.41, 1.17, respectively), and TYMS SNPs rs502396 and rs699517 (OR = 0.91, 80% CI: 0.53, 1.56; OR = 0.70, 80% CI: 0.38, 1.29). A gene-only effect was observed for maternal SHMT1 SNP rs669340 (OR?=?0.69, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.96). When there was low maternal folate intake, risk of NTDs was significantly increased for infant MTHFD1 SNPs rs2236224, rs2236225, and rs11627387 (OR = 1.58, 80% CI: 0.99, 2.51; OR = 1.53, 80% CI: 0.95, 2.47; OR = 4.25, 80% CI: 2.33, 7.75, respectively) and SHMT1 SNP rs12939757 (OR = 2.01, 80% CI: 1.20, 3.37), but decreased for TYMS SNP rs2847153 (OR = 0.73, 80% CI: 0.37, 1.45). Although power to detect interaction effects was low for this birth defects association study, the gene-folate interactions observed in this study represent preliminary findings that will be useful for informing future studies on the complex etiology of NTDs.
Project description:The PCMT1 gene encodes the protein repair enzyme protein-L-isoaspartate (D-aspartate) O-methyltransferase, which is known to protect certain neural cells against Bax-induced apoptosis. Previous studies have produced inconsistent results regarding the effects of PCMT1 (rs4816 and rs4552) polymorphisms on neural tube defects (NTDs). Reduced maternal plasma folate levels and/or elevated homocysteine (Hcy) levels are considered to be risk factors for NTDs. In order to clarify the key factors contributing to the apparent discrepancy and investigate gene-environment interaction, we conducted a case-control study including 121 cases and 146 matched controls to investigate the association between the two PCMT1 polymorphisms in fetuses and the risk of NTDs in the Chinese population of Lvliang, which has low folate intake. Maternal plasma folate and Hcy levels were also measured, and the interaction between fetal PCMT1 gene status and maternal folate metabolites was assessed. Maternal plasma folate concentrations in the NTD group were lower than in controls (10.23 vs. 13.08 nmol/L, adjusted P = 0.059), and Hcy concentrations were significantly higher (14.46 vs. 11.65 ?mol/L, adjusted P = 0.026). Fetuses carrying the rs4816 AG + GG genotype, combined with higher maternal plasma Hcy, had a 6.46-fold (95 % CI 1.15-36.46) increased risk of anencephaly. The results of this study imply that the fetal PCMT1 rs4816 polymorphism may play only a weak role in NTD formation and that gene-environment interactions might be more significant.
Project description:Smoking exposure is associated with pregnancy complications, as are levels of folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine. In nonpregnant adults, smoking exposure is associated negatively with folate and vitamin B12 levels and positively with homocysteine levels. A complete overview of the literature on this topic in pregnant women is lacking. To evaluate evidence of associations of maternal smoking exposure during pregnancy and levels of folate, homocysteine, and vitamin B12 in pregnancy and in cord blood, we searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane, Scopus, Web of Science, and reference lists of relevant studies until August 2017. We selected studies in pregnant women describing the association of passive or active smoking and levels of folate, homocysteine, and/or vitamin B12. Data were extracted by two independent reviewers. We included 32 studies of 2,015 identified references with a total of 37,822 participants and more than 6,000 smokers. Twenty-eight studies measured folate, 14 measured vitamin B12, and 13 measured homocysteine. Nineteen out of 28 studies assessing folate reported significantly lower levels in pregnant women exposed to smoking compared with those unexposed. Vitamin B12 levels were lower in smoking mothers in eight out of 14 studies. Homocysteine levels tended to be higher in mothers exposed to smoking. Smoking exposure during pregnancy is generally associated with lower folate and vitamin B12 levels and higher homocysteine levels. This may help raise further awareness about the consequences of smoking and the need to encourage stopping smoking in all, especially in pregnant women.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Both environmental and genetic factors are involved in the etiology of NTDs. Inadequate folate intake and obesity are important environmental risk factors. Several folate-related genetic variants have been identified as risk factors; however, little is known about how genetic variants relate to the increased risk seen in obese women. Uncoupling Protein 2 (UCP2) is an attractive candidate to screen for NTD risk because of its possible role in obesity as well as energy metabolism, type-2 diabetes, and the regulation of reactive oxygen species. Interestingly, a previous study found that a common UCP2 compound homozygous genotype was associated with a threefold increase in NTD risk. METHODS:We evaluated three polymorphisms, -866G>A, A55V, and the 3'UTR 45 bp insertion/deletion, as risk factors for NTDs in Irish NTD cases (n = 169), their mothers (n = 163), their fathers (n = 167), and normal control subjects (n = 332). RESULTS:Allele and genotype frequencies were not significantly different when comparing NTD mothers, NTD fathers, or affected children to controls. Additionally, the previously reported risk genotype (combined homozygosity of 55VV and 3'UTR 45 bp deletion/deletion) was not present at a higher frequency in any NTD group when compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS:In our Irish study population, UCP2 polymorphisms did not influence NTD risk. Moreover, the prevalence of this allele in other populations was similar to the Irish prevalence but far lower than reported in the previous NTD study, suggesting that this previous finding of an association with NTDs might have been due to an unrepresentative study sample.
Project description:We aimed to investigate associations between individual and concurrent (?2) intakes of one-carbon cofactors vitamins B6 and B12, choline, betaine, and methionine and neural tube defect (NTD) outcomes among mothers meeting the folic acid recommendations. In the Slone Birth Defects Study (case-control design; North America, 1998-2015), mothers of 164 NTD cases and 2,831 nonmalformed controls completed food frequency questionnaires and structured interviews. Estimated intakes of one-carbon cofactors were dichotomized (high vs. low) for all except betaine (low or middle vs. high). We used logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for center, age, and race. The analysis was restricted to mothers with estimated daily total folate intake of ?400 ?g during periconception. Fewer cases, compared with controls, had high intakes for each one-carbon cofactor except betaine, where the starkest contrast occurred in the middle group. Women with concurrent high intakes of B6, B12, choline, and methionine and moderate intake of betaine had approximately half the risk of an NTD-affected pregnancy (odds ratio = 0.49, 95% confidence interval: 0.23, 1.08). These findings suggest that, in the presence of folic acid, one-carbon cofactors-notably when consumed together-might reduce NTD risk. Additional research should inform any changes to clinical recommendations.