Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and spina bifida: Evaluation of level of defect and maternal genotypic risk in hispanics

K. A. Volcik, S. H. Blanton, G. H. Tyerman, S. T. Jong, E. J. Rott, T. Z. Page, N. K. Romaine, H. Northrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The C677T and A1298C mutations in the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene are each associated with reduced MTHFR activity. The C677T mutation in the heterozygous and homozygous state correlates with increased enzyme thermolability, with homozygous mutant geno-types showing significantly elevated plasma homocysteine levels and decreased plasma folate levels. The A1298C mutation results in decreased MTHFR activity, but changes in neither homocysteine nor folate levels are associated with A1298C variant genotypes. Our study determined the frequencies of the C677T and A1298C MTHFR mutations for spina bifida (SB) cases, mothers and fathers of SB cases, and controls in Hispanics of Mexican-American descent. In addition, our subject population was further categorized as to whether the spina bifida lesion occurred as an upper or lower level defect, according to the Van Allen 'multi-site closure' model. Hispanic SB cases with upper level defects and their mothers were homozygous for the C677T variant allele at a higher rate than their respective controls (OR = 1.5 [95% CI 0.8-2.9], P = 0.30; OR = 2.3 [1.1-4.8], P = 0.04, respectively), with statistically significant results seen only for the maternal homozygous genotype. Homozygosity for the A1298C mutation was seen at a higher rate only in Hispanic mothers of both upper and lower level SB cases when compared to controls, but these results were not statistically significant. Our study provides evidence that the maternal C677T MTHFR homozygous mutant genotype is a risk factor for upper level spina bifida defects in Hispanics. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 6 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Hispanics
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
  • Multisite closure model
  • Spina bifida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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