Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Rule Out Link Between Specific Antibodies, Such As Folic Acid related Auto-antibodies, And Spina Bifida

Date:
July 12, 2009
Source:
Trinity College Dublin
Summary:
New research shows that a woman's risk of having a child with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida, is not linked to folic acid related auto-antibodies.

New research, published July 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that a woman's risk of having a child with a neural tube defect (NTD), such as Spina Bifida, is not linked to folic acid related auto-antibodies. The findings refute a well publicised study in 2004, which had indicated a link between the presence of these auto-antibodies in the circulation of mothers who had children with Spina Bifida compared to those who did not.

Related Articles


Within an embryo, folate is essential for many developmental processes including the closure of the neural tube to make the spinal column. Folate receptors enable the uptake of the folate into cells and the research in 2004 indicated that folic acid auto-antibodies obstructed this process.

The new study conducted by a team in Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, the Health Research Board, the State University of New York and the National Institutes of Health in the US shows that folic acid related auto-antibodies are quite common throughout the Irish population, and that they are no more common in affected mothers than in other groups, including men. The study was much larger, involving 140 mothers of affected children who were recruited through the Irish Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrochephalus and 238 additional Irish participants.

'It was critical to determine whether these antibodies were, or were not, a contributory factor in NTDs that need to be screened for in the mother, because previous and current health policies concentrate on improving maternal status,' says Prof John Scott, Trinity School of Biochemistry and Immunology and a member of the National Committee on Folic Acid Food Fortification. 'We conclude with good confidence that these antibodies are not a factor in NTD risk'.

Dr Anne Molloy, School of Medicine, Trinity and lead author says; 'Since intervention trials in the early 1990s it was accepted that extra folate, either as synthetic folic acid supplements or by way of fortification, prevented the occurrence of almost all NTD births by improving maternal folate status. Our own earlier work very much agreed with this showing that even small improvements in status gave a directly proportionate reduction in NTD risk. The other well publicised research in 2004 suggested that a radically different mechanism was at work, namely the ability of a mother to absorb folic acid was at risk if these antibodies were present. In line with our original findings, we have confirmed that this is not the case.'

'This is the most definitive study to address this question to date. In addition to being an important contribution to international understanding, it is of particular importance here in Ireland, where the incidence of NTDs has traditionally been high,' says Dr Peadar Kirke, Principal Investigator at the Health Research Board.

Dr Molloy adds, "One strong point of this study is that it was performed in a joint collaboration between the TCD researchers and researchers in the State University of New York, led by Dr. Edward Quadros, who conducted the original pilot study. This ensured that laboratory differences did not account for the contradictory findings in the current study compared to the previous studies."

Maternal intake of supplements containing folic acid before and during early pregnancy is known to prevent most of these defects. Currently, the Irish Department of Health and Children recommends that women who could become pregnant should take an extra 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for the prevention of neural tube defects. Similar recommendations exist in the UK. These current recommendations thus remain intact with no new requirement to screen for these folate auto-antibodies.

The study was funded by the Health Research Board, Ireland, (P.I. Dr Peadar Kirke) and by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) [P.I. Dr Jim Mills], one of the USA National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Trinity College Dublin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Trinity College Dublin. "Scientists Rule Out Link Between Specific Antibodies, Such As Folic Acid related Auto-antibodies, And Spina Bifida." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708181158.htm>.
Trinity College Dublin. (2009, July 12). Scientists Rule Out Link Between Specific Antibodies, Such As Folic Acid related Auto-antibodies, And Spina Bifida. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708181158.htm
Trinity College Dublin. "Scientists Rule Out Link Between Specific Antibodies, Such As Folic Acid related Auto-antibodies, And Spina Bifida." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708181158.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins