Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Prenatal vitamins, one-carbon metabolism gene variants, and risk for autism.

Authors: Schmidt, Rebecca J; Hansen, Robin L; Hartiala, Jaana; Allayee, Hooman; Schmidt, Linda C; Tancredi, Daniel J; Tassone, Flora; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva

Published In Epidemiology, (2011 Jul)

Abstract: Causes of autism are unknown. Associations with maternal nutritional factors and their interactions with gene variants have not been reported.Northern California families were enrolled from 2003 to 2009 in the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) population-based case-control study. Children aged 24-60 months were evaluated and confirmed to have autism (n = 288), autism spectrum disorder (n = 141), or typical development (n = 278) at the University of California-Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute using standardized clinical assessments. We calculated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for associations between autism and retrospectively collected data on maternal vitamin intake before and during pregnancy. We explored interaction effects with functional genetic variants involved in one-carbon metabolism (MTHFR, COMT, MTRR, BHMT, FOLR2, CBS, and TCN2) as carried by the mother or child.Mothers of children with autism were less likely than those of typically developing children to report having taken prenatal vitamins during the 3 months before pregnancy or the first month of pregnancy (OR = 0.62 [95% confidence interval = 0.42-0.93]). Significant interaction effects were observed for maternal MTHFR 677 TT, CBS rs234715 GT + TT, and child COMT 472 AA genotypes, with greater risk for autism when mothers did not report taking prenatal vitamins periconceptionally (4.5 [1.4-14.6]; 2.6 [1.2-5.4]; and 7.2 [2.3-22.4], respectively). Greater risk was also observed for children whose mothers had other one-carbon metabolism pathway gene variants and reported no prenatal vitamin intake.Periconceptional use of prenatal vitamins may reduce the risk of having children with autism, especially for genetically susceptible mothers and children. Replication and mechanistic investigations are warranted.

PubMed ID: 21610500 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adolescent; Adult; Autistic Disorder/genetics; California; Case-Control Studies; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive/epidemiology; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive/genetics*; Child, Preschool; Female; Genetic Predisposition to Disease*; Humans; Infant; Logistic Models; Male; Odds Ratio; Pregnancy; Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; Vitamins/therapeutic use*; Young Adult

to Top