Aim: To investigate the maternal homocysteine (Hcy), folate, vitamin B(12) and B(6) , and their relations to neural tube defects (NTDs).
Methods: Thirty mothers of NTDs offspring and another 60 mothers of normal children were enrolled as the patient and control groups from Xinjiang, China, from January 2008 to May 2011. The plasma levels of Hcy, folate, vitamin B(12) and B(6) were measured and compared between the two groups.
Results: The morbidity of NTDs was 2.44% in Xinjiang. The Hcy was significantly higher in patient group than in control group (15.1 ± 7.8 vs. 8.5 ± 4.0 μmol/L, p < 0.001). The folate in patient group (9.7 ± 8.1 μg/L) was lower than in control group (15.0 ± 8.1 μg/L, p < 0.001). The vitamin B(12) was 181.3 ± 107.7 and 394.3 ± 386.3 ng/L in patient and control groups, respectively, with a significant difference (p < 0.001). The abnormal frequency of Hcy and vitamin B(12) was statistically different in two groups. The difference of vitamin B(6) between the patients and controls was marginal (48.7 ± 16.5 vs. 42.0 ± 10.5 mg/L, p = 0.051). Moreover, folate and vitamin B(12) levels were negatively correlated with Hcy while vitamin B(6) was positively correlated with Hcy. Positive correlation was observed between folate and vitamin B(12) levels.
Conclusion: Our data confirm that higher Hcy, lower folate and vitamin B(12) are risk factors for NTDs. Besides folate, vitamin B(12) should be supplied to decrease NTDs occurrence. Further study is required to investigate the levels and accurate role of vitamin B(6).
© 2012 The Author(s)/Acta Paediatrica © 2012 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.