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PCMT1 gene polymorphisms, maternal folate metabolism, and neural tube defects: a case–control study in a population with relatively low folate intake
- Wang, Fang, Wang, Jianhua, Guo, Jin, Chen, Xiaoli, Guan, Zhen, Zhao, Huizhi, Xie, Hua, Liu, Chi, Bao, Yihua, Zou, Jizhen, Niu, Bo, Zhang, Ting
- Genes & nutrition 2013 v.8 no.6 pp. 581-587
- metabolism, risk factors, metabolites, genotype, genes, folic acid, neural tube defects, genetic polymorphism, apoptosis, homocysteine
- 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 μmol/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.