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McCarthy A.,Child Health Epidemiology Unit | Kirke P.,Child Health Epidemiology Unit
Irish Journal of Medical Science

Background: The association of poor childhood socioeconomic circumstances with increased infant mortality rates (IMR) makes IMR a useful public health index. We analysed Irish trends for 1984-2005. Methods: All-cause IMR and all-cause IMR stratified by SEG were calculated and plotted. Tests of trend were computed. Results: In 22 years, there were 1,217,014 births; 8,212 infants died. IMR per live births declined from 9.6 to 3.7 per 1,000 (P < 0.001). This decline was observed among all SEG categories, but was much lower among infants whose guardian had 'Unknown' SEG. Conclusions: The overall secular decline in IMR is welcome, and where available, the trends were similar among SEGs. However, as almost half the deaths occurred in infants with a guardian with SEG 'Unknown'. A uniform SEP classification system, record linkage and monitoring data collection could assist in improving the data quality required to further reduce IMR in Ireland. © 2010 Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. Source

Stone N.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Stone N.,University of California at San Francisco | Pangilinan F.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Molloy A.M.,Trinity College Dublin | And 7 more authors.

One-carbon metabolism (OCM) is linked to DNA synthesis and methylation, amino acid metabolism and cell proliferation. OCM dysfunction has been associated with increased risk for various diseases, including cancer and neural tube defects. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are ~22 nt RNA regulators that have been implicated in a wide array of basic cellular processes, such as differentiation and metabolism. Accordingly, mis-regulation of miRNA expression and/or activity can underlie complex disease etiology. We examined the possibility of OCM regulation by miRNAs. Using computational miRNA target prediction methods and Monte-Carlo based statistical analyses, we identified two candidate miRNA "master regulators" (miR-22 and miR-125) and one candidate pair of "master co-regulators" (miR-344-5p/484 and miR-488) that may influence the expression of a significant number of genes involved in OCM. Interestingly, miR-22 and miR-125 are significantly up-regulated in cells grown under low-folate conditions. In a complementary analysis, we identified 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are located within predicted miRNA target sites in OCM genes. We genotyped these 15 SNPs in a population of healthy individuals (age 18-28, n = 2,506) that was previously phenotyped for various serum metabolites related to OCM. Prior to correction for multiple testing, we detected significant associations between TCblR rs9426 and methylmalonic acid (p = 0.045), total homocysteine levels (tHcy) (p = 0.033), serum B12 (p < 0.0001), holo transcobalamin (p < 0.0001) and total transcobalamin (p < 0.0001); and between MTHFR rs1537514 and red blood cell folate (p < 0.0001). However, upon further genetic analysis, we determined that in each case, a linked missense SNP is the more likely causative variant. Nonetheless, our Monte-Carlo based in silico simulations suggest that miRNAs could play an important role in the regulation of OCM. Source

Mills J.L.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Carter T.C.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Scott J.M.,Trinity College Dublin | Troendle J.F.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 6 more authors.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Background: In elderly individuals with low serum vitamin B-12, those who have high serum folate have been reported to have greater abnormalities in the following biomarkers for vitamin B-12 deficiency: low hemoglobin and elevated total homocysteine (tHcy) and methylmalonic acid (MMA). This suggests that folate exacerbates vitamin B-12-related metabolic abnormalities. Objective: We determined whether high serum folate in individuals with low serum vitamin B-12 increases the deleterious effects of low vitamin B-12 on biomarkers of vitamin B-12 cellular function. Design: In this cross-sectional study, 2507 university students provided data on medical history and exposure to folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplements. Blood was collected to measure serum and red blood cell folate (RCF), hemoglobin, plasma tHcy, and MMA, holotranscobalamin, and ferritin in serum. Results: In subjects with low vitamin B-12 concentrations (<148 pmol/L), those who had high folate concentrations (>30 nmol/L; group 1) did not show greater abnormalities in vitamin B-12 cellular function in any area than did those with lower folate concentrations (≤30 nmol/L; group 2). Group 1 had significantly higher holotrans-cobalamin and RCF, significantly lower tHcy, and nonsignificantly lower (P = 0.057) MMA concentrations than did group 2. The groups did not differ significantly in hemoglobin or ferritin. Compared with group 2, group 1 had significantly higher mean intakes of folic acid and vitamin B-12 from supplements and fortified food. Conclusions: In this young adult population, high folate concentrations did not exacerbate the biochemical abnormalities related to vitamin B-12 deficiency. These results provide reassurance that folic acid in fortified foods and supplements does not interfere with vitamin B-12 metabolism at the cellular level in a healthy population. © 2011 American Society for Nutrition. Source

Carter T.C.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Pangilinan F.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Troendle J.F.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Molloy A.M.,Trinity College Dublin | And 8 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A

Individual studies of the genetics of neural tube defects (NTDs) contain results on a small number of genes in each report. To identify genetic risk factors for NTDs, we evaluated potentially functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are biologically plausible risk factors for NTDs but that have never been investigated for an association with NTDs, examined SNPs that previously showed no association with NTDs in published studies, and tried to confirm previously reported associations in folate-related and non-folate-related genes. We investigated 64 SNPs in 34 genes for association with spina bifida in up to 558 case families (520 cases, 507 mothers, 457 fathers) and 994 controls in Ireland. Case-control and mother-control comparisons of genotype frequencies, tests of transmission disequilibrium, and log-linear regression models were used to calculate effect estimates. Spina bifida was associated with over-transmission of the LEPR (leptin receptor) rs1805134 minor C allele [genotype relative risk (GRR): 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0-2.1; P = 0.0264] and the COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) rs737865 major T allele (GRR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1-2.0; P = 0.0206). After correcting for multiple comparisons, these individual test P-values exceeded 0.05. Consistent with previous reports, spina bifida was associated with MTHFR 677C>T, T (Brachyury) rs3127334, LEPR K109R, and PDGFRA promoter haplotype combinations. The associations between LEPR SNPs and spina bifida suggest a possible mechanism for the finding that obesity is a NTD risk factor. The association between a variant in COMT and spina bifida implicates methylation and epigenetics in NTDs. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source

Pangilinan F.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Molloy A.M.,Trinity College Dublin | Mills J.L.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Troendle J.F.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 12 more authors.
BMC Medical Genetics

Background: Neural tube defects (NTDs), which are among the most common congenital malformations, are influenced by environmental and genetic factors. Low maternal folate is the strongest known contributing factor, making variants in genes in the folate metabolic pathway attractive candidates for NTD risk. Multiple studies have identified nominally significant allelic associations with NTDs. We tested whether associations detected in a large Irish cohort could be replicated in an independent population.Methods: Replication tests of 24 nominally significant NTD associations were performed in racially/ethnically matched populations. Family-based tests of fifteen nominally significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were repeated in a cohort of NTD trios (530 cases and their parents) from the United Kingdom, and case-control tests of nine nominally significant SNPs were repeated in a cohort (190 cases, 941 controls) from New York State (NYS). Secondary hypotheses involved evaluating the latter set of nine SNPs for NTD association using alternate case-control models and NTD groupings in white, African American and Hispanic cohorts from NYS.Results: Of the 24 SNPs tested for replication, ADA rs452159 and MTR rs10925260 were significantly associated with isolated NTDs. Of the secondary tests performed, ARID1A rs11247593 was associated with NTDs in whites, and ALDH1A2 rs7169289 was associated with isolated NTDs in African Americans.Conclusions: We report a number of associations between SNP genotypes and neural tube defects. These associations were nominally significant before correction for multiple hypothesis testing. These corrections are highly conservative for association studies of untested hypotheses, and may be too conservative for replication studies. We therefore believe the true effect of these four nominally significant SNPs on NTD risk will be more definitively determined by further study in other populations, and eventual meta-analysis. © 2014 Pangilinan et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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