The aim of the present study was to determine the serum levels of vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine (Hcy) in mothers and their babies, and to assess the association between these levels and neural tube defect (NTD). The study group included 92 baby-mother pairs, where the babies had NTD, and the control group included 102 pairs, where the babies had no NTD, from May 2012 to May 2015. Plasma vitamin B12, folate, and Hcy levels of the babies and mothers were measured, and compared with each other. NTD was diagnosed in 2.6% of our babies. The vitamin B12 levels in the mothers and the babies in the study group were determined as 166.2 ± 63.7 pg/mL and 240.3 ± 120.3 pg/mL, and in the control group as 1 9 0 ± 80.2 pg/mL and 299.5 ± 151.4 pg/mL, respectively. There was a significant difference between the two groups in terms of both the mothers' and the babies' vitamin B12 levels (p = 0.024 and p = 0.003, respectively). The plasma folate levels of the mothers in the study group (5.2 ± 3 ng/mL) were significantly lower than control group (6.4 ± 4.3 ng/mL, p = 0.032).The plasma Hcy level of the mothers in the study group (9.3 ± 3.8 μmol/L) was significantly higher than the control group (7 ± 3.8 μmol/L, p < 0.001). High plasma Hcy levels and low plasma folate and vitamin B12 levels are risk factors for NTD. Our results show that the risk for NTD can be decreased by fortification of mothers-to-be, particularly in rural areas with folate and vitamin B12 deficiency, which would lower the plasma Hcy level.
Keywords: Folate; homocysteine; neural tube defect; newborn; vitamin B12.