Homocysteine concentrations in adults with trisomy 21: effect of B vitamins and genetic polymorphisms

Nathalie Fillon-Emery, Abalo Chango, Clotilde Mircher, Françoise Barbé, Henri Bléhaut, Bernard Herbeth, David S Rosenblatt, Marie-Odile Réthoré, Daniel Lambert, Jean Pierre Nicolas
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004, 80 (6): 1551-7

BACKGROUND: The effects of supplementation with B vitamins and of common polymorphisms in genes involved in homocysteine metabolism on plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations in trisomy 21 are unknown.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine the effects of orally administered folic acid and of folic acid combined with vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, or both on tHcy in adults with trisomy 21. The study was also intended to analyze the possible influence of gene polymorphisms.

DESIGN: One hundred sixty adults with trisomy 21 and 160 healthy, unrelated subjects aged 26 +/- 4 y were included. Plasma tHcy, red blood cell folate, serum folate, and vitamin B-12 were measured. Genotyping for the common methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C-->T, MTHFR 1298A-->C, cystathionine beta-synthase 844Ins68, methionine synthase 2756A-->C, methionine synthase reductase 66A-->G, and reduced folate carrier 80G-->A polymorphisms was carried out.

RESULTS: The mean tHcy concentration (9.8 +/- 0.7 micromol/L) of cases who did not use vitamins was not significantly different from that of controls (9.4 +/- 0.3 micromol/L). Plasma tHcy concentrations (7.6 +/- 0.3 mmol/L) in cases who used folic acid were significantly lower than in cases who did not. Folic acid combined with vitamin B-12 did not significantly change tHcy concentrations compared with those in cases who used only folic acid. Folic acid combined with vitamins B-6 and B-12 significantly lowered tHcy (6.5 +/- 0.5 micromol/L). The difference in tHcy according to MTHFR genotype was not significant. However, tHcy concentrations were slightly higher in TT homozygotes among the controls but not among the cases.

CONCLUSION: This study provides information on the relation between several polymorphisms in genes involved in homocysteine and folate metabolism in adults with trisomy 21.

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