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Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Oct;39(10):9277-84. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-1629-5. Epub 2012 Aug 19.

Genetic polymorphisms modulate the folate metabolism of Brazilian individuals with Down syndrome.

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  • 1Departamento de Biologia Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina de São José do Rio Preto (FAMERP), Unidade de Pesquisa em Genética e Biologia Molecular (UPGEM), Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, n.o 5416-Bloco U-6, São José do Rio Preto, SP, CEP: 15.090-000, Brazil.


Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) carry three copies of the Cystathionine β-synthase (CβS) gene. The increase in the dosage of this gene results in an altered profile of metabolites involved in the folate pathway, including reduced homocysteine (Hcy), methionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Furthermore, previous studies in individuals with DS have shown that genetic variants in genes involved in the folate pathway influence the concentrations of this metabolism's products. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether polymorphisms in genes involved in folate metabolism affect the plasma concentrations of Hcy and methylmalonic acid (MMA) along with the concentration of serum folate in individuals with DS. Twelve genetic polymorphisms were investigated in 90 individuals with DS (median age 1.29 years, range 0.07-30.35 years; 49 male and 41 female). Genotyping for the polymorphisms was performed either by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based techniques or by direct sequencing. Plasma concentrations of Hcy and MMA were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry as previously described, and serum folate was quantified using a competitive immunoassay. Our results indicate that the MTHFR C677T, MTR A2756G, TC2 C776G and BHMT G742A polymorphisms along with MMA concentration are predictors of Hcy concentration. They also show that age and Hcy concentration are predictors of MMA concentration. These findings could help to understand how genetic variation impacts folate metabolism and what metabolic consequences these variants have in individuals with trisomy 21.

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