Maternal MTHFR polymorphism (677 C-T) and risk of Down's syndrome child: meta-analysis

J Genet. 2016 Sep;95(3):505-13. doi: 10.1007/s12041-016-0657-7.


Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is the most important gene that participates in folate metabolism. Presence of valine instead of alanine at position 677 and elevated levels of homocystein causes DNA hypomethylation which in turn favours nondisjunction. In this study, we conducted a meta-analysis to establish link between maternal single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and birth of Down's syndrome (DS) child. A total of 37 case-control studies were selected for analysis including our own, in which we investigated 110 cases and 111 control mothers. Overall, the result of meta-analysis showed significant risk of DS affected by the presence of maternal SNP (MTHFR 677 C-T OR = 0.816, 95% CI = 0.741-0.900, P <0.0001). Heterogeneity of high magnitude was observed among the studies. The chi-square value suggested a highly significant association between homozygous mutant TT genotype and birth of DS child (χ² = 23.63, P = 0.000). Genetic models suggested that 'T' allele possesses high risk for DS whether present in dominant (OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.13-1.34); codominant (OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.10-1.25) or recessive (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.05-1.38) form. The analysis from all 37 studies combined together suggested that MTHFR 677 C-T is a major risk factor for DS birth.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Methylation
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Down Syndrome / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Maternal Inheritance*
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2) / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Risk Factors


  • MTHFR protein, human
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (NADPH2)