Neural tube closure and embryonic metabolism

Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2017 Sep;57(5):134-137. doi: 10.1111/cga.12219. Epub 2017 May 31.


Neural tube closure (NTC) is an embryonic process during formation of the mammalian central nervous system. Disruption of the dynamic, sequential events of NTC can cause neural tube defects (NTD) leading to spina bifida and anencephaly in the newborn. NTC is affected by inherent factors such as genetic mutation or if the mother is exposed to certain environmental factors such as intake of harmful chemicals, maternal infection, irradiation, malnutrition, and inadequate or excessive intake of specific nutrients. Although effects of these stress factors on NTC have been intensively studied, the metabolic state of a normally developing embryo remains unclear. State-of-the art mass spectrometry techniques have enabled detailed study of embryonic metabolite profiles and their distribution within tissues. This approach has demonstrated that glucose metabolism is altered during NTC stages involving chorioallantoic branching. An understanding of embryonic metabolic rewiring would help reveal the etiology of NTD caused by environmental factors.

Keywords: energy metabolism; maternal-fetal interaction; neural tube closure; neural tube defects; placentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anencephaly / etiology
  • Anencephaly / metabolism*
  • Anencephaly / pathology
  • Animals
  • Chorioallantoic Membrane / metabolism
  • Chorioallantoic Membrane / pathology
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology
  • Metabolome
  • Neural Tube / abnormalities
  • Neural Tube / embryology
  • Neural Tube / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal Dysraphism / etiology
  • Spinal Dysraphism / metabolism*
  • Spinal Dysraphism / pathology


  • Glucose