Intracellular folate hemostasis depends on the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene. Because 5,10-MTHFR 677TT homozygosity and tobacco smoking are associated with low folate status, we tested the hypothesis that smoking in mothers with 5,10-MTHFR C677T or A1298C polymorphisms would be independently associated with lower birth weight among their offspring.
We assessed 1784 native Japanese mother-child pairs drawn from the ongoing birth cohort of The Hokkaido Study on Environment and Children’s Health. Data (demographic information, hospital birth records, and biological specimens) were extracted from recruitments that took place during the period from February 2003 to March 2006. Maternal serum folate were assayed by chemiluminescent immunoassay, and genotyping of 5,10-MTHFR C677T/A1298C polymorphisms was done using a TaqMan allelic discrimination assay.
The prevalence of folate deficiency (<6.8 nmol/L) was 0.3%. The 5,10-MTHFR 677CT genotype was independently associated with an increase of 36.40 g (95% CI: 2.60 to 70.30, P = 0.035) in mean infant birth weight and an increase of 90.70 g (95% CI: 6.00 to 175.50, P = 0.036) among male infants of nonsmokers. Female infants of 677TT homozygous passive smokers were 99.00 g (95% CI: −190.26 to −7.56, P = 0.034) lighter. The birth weight of the offspring of smokers with 5,10-MTHFR 1298AA homozygosity was lower by 107.00 g (95% CI: −180.00 to −33.90, P = 0.004).
The results suggest that, in this population, maternal 5,10-MTHFR C677T polymorphism, but not the 5,10-MTHFR A1298C variant, is independently associated with improvement in infant birth weight, especially among nonsmokers. However, 5,10-MTHFR 1298AA might be associated with folate impairment and could interact with tobacco smoke to further decrease birth weight.