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Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Nov;13(11):1114-22. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr124. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

GSTM1 modifies the effect of maternal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke on neonatal primitive reflexes.

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Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan.



The aim of this study was to examine whether infant metabolic gene polymorphisms modify the effect of maternal environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on neonatal neurobehavior.


We conducted a birth cohort study of 87 nonsmoking women who delivered single births of normal birth weight. We enrolled the women before delivery, interviewed them using a structured questionnaire, and collected umbilical cord blood. Umbilical cord cotinine, a blood indicator of prenatal ETS exposure, was analyzed. The Neonatal Neurobehavioral Examination-Chinese Version (NNE-C) was administrated within 5 days after delivery to examine neonatal neurobehavior. Four infant metabolic genes, CYP1A1 MspI, CYP1A1 Ile462Val, GSTT1, and GSTM1, were identified.


Maternal ETS exposure during pregnancy was not related to neonatal neurobehavior when infant genetic polymorphisms were not considered. However, maternal ETS exposure did cause adverse effects in neonates with the absent type of GSTM1. Adverse effects were seen on the total NNE-C (β = -2.55; p = .02) and on primitive reflexes (β = -1.70; p = .004), especially in grasp reflexes (β = -.36; p = .011) and tonic neck reflexes (β = -.36; p = .049). In addition, there was a significant interaction between maternal ETS exposure and infant GSTM1 genotype on neonate grasp reflexes (p for interaction = .019).


These data indicate that weaker responses in neonatal primitive reflexes in infants with the absent type GSTM1 were related to maternal ETS exposure during pregnancy.

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