Is low iron status a risk factor for neural tube defects?
Item Type:Journal Article
Citation:Molloy AM, Einri CN, Jain D, Laird E, Fan R, Wang Y, Scott JM, Shane B, Brody LC, Kirke PN, Mills JL.., Is low iron status a risk factor for neural tube defects?, Birth Defects Research A Clinical and Molecular Teratology., 100, 2, 2014, 100 - 106
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Background: Folic acid supplements can protect against neural tube defects (NTDs). Low folate and low vitamin B12 status may be maternal risk factors for having an NTD affected pregnancy. However, not all NTDs are preventable by having an adequate folate/ B12 status and other potentially modifiable factors may be involved. Folate and vitamin B12 status have important links to iron metabolism. Animal studies support an association between poor iron status and NTDs but human data are scarce. We examined the relevance of low iron status in a nested NTD case-control study of women within a pregnant population-based cohort. Methods: Pregnant women were recruited between 1986 and 1990, when vitamin or iron supplementation in early pregnancy was rare. Blood samples, taken at an average of 14 weeks gestation, were used to measure ferritin and hemoglobin in 64 women during an NTD affected pregnancy and 207 women with unaffected pregnancies. Results: No significant differences in maternal ferritin or hemoglobin concentrations were observed between NTD affected and non-affected pregnancies (case median ferritin 16.8µg/L and hemoglobin 12.4g/dL versus 15.4µg/L and 12.3g/dL in controls). As reported previously, red cell folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were significantly lower in cases. Furthermore, there was no significant association of iron status with type of NTD lesion (anencephaly or spina bifida) Conclusions: We conclude that low maternal iron status during early pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for NTDs. Adding iron to folic acid for periconceptional use may improve iron status but is not likely to prevent NTDs.
Type of material:Journal Article
Series/Report no:Birth Defects Research A Clinical and Molecular Teratology.
Availability:Full text available
Subject (TCD):International Development