Folic acid use in pregnancy and the development of atopy, asthma, and lung function in childhood.
ABSTRACT Recently, folic acid supplementation during pregnancy was implicated as a potential risk factor for atopic diseases in childhood.
To investigate whether folic acid supplementation and higher intracellular folic acid (ICF) levels during pregnancy increase the risk of childhood atopic diseases.
In the KOALA Birth Cohort Study (N=2834), data on eczema and wheeze were collected by using repeated questionnaires at 3, 7, 12, and 24 months, 4 to 5 years, and 6 to 7 years after delivery. Atopic dermatitis and total and specific immunoglobulin E levels were determined at age 2 years and asthma and lung function at age 6 to 7 years. We defined folic acid use as stand-alone and/or multivitamin supplements according to the period of use before and/or during pregnancy. ICF levels were determined in blood samples taken at ∼35 weeks of pregnancy (n=837). Multivariable logistic and linear regression analyses were conducted, with generalized estimating equation models for repeated outcomes.
Maternal folic acid supplement use during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk of wheeze, lung function, asthma, or related atopic outcomes in the offspring. Maternal ICF level in late pregnancy was inversely associated with asthma risk at age 6 to 7 years in a dose-dependent manner (P for trend=.05).
Our results do not confirm any meaningful association between folic acid supplement use during pregnancy and atopic diseases in the offspring. Higher ICF levels in pregnancy tended, at most, toward a small decreased risk for developing asthma.
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ABSTRACT: Human birth defects are a major public health burden: The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 of every 33 United States newborns presents with a birth defect, and worldwide the estimate approaches 6% of all births. Among the most common and debilitating of human birth defects are those affecting the formation of the neural tube, the precursor to the central nervous system. Neural tube defects (NTDs) arise from a complex combination of genetic and environmental interactions. Although substantial advances have been made in the prevention and treatment of these malformations, NTDs remain a substantial public health problem, and we are only now beginning to understand their etiology. Here, we review the process of neural tube development and how defects in this process lead to NTDs, both in humans and in the animal models that serve to inform our understanding of these processes. The insights we are gaining will help generate new intervention strategies to tackle the clinical challenges and to alleviate the personal and societal burdens that accompany these defects.Science 03/2013; 339(6123):1222002. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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