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  • Research
  • Open Access

Interactions between genetic variants involved in the folate metabolic pathway and serum lipid, homocysteine levels on the risk of recurrent spontaneous abortion

Contributed equally
Lipids in Health and Disease201918:143

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-019-1083-7

  • Received: 28 August 2018
  • Accepted: 4 June 2019
  • Published:

Abstract

Background

The interaction between folate pathway gene polymorphisms and homocysteine, serum lipid leverls are poorly understood in patients with recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). The aim of this study is to explore the effects of folate pathway gene polymorphisms (the 5–10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, MTHTR C677T, MTHFR A1298C and the methionine synthase reductase, MTRR A66G) and their interactions with homocysteine on serum lipid levels in patients with RSA.

Methods

A total of 403 RSA women and 342 healthy women were randomly selected. Genotyping of the MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G were performed by TaqMan-MGB technique. Serum homocysteine, folate, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, Interleukin 6, Tumor necrosis factorα (TNFα) and lipid profiles were measured according to the kits. Continuous variables were analyzed using 2-sample t-tests. Categorical variables were analyzed and compared by χ2 or Fisher’s exact tests. Unconditional logistic regression model was applied to test the interactions of gene polymorphisms on RSA.

Results

The distribution of genotype of CC, CT TT and T allele of MTHFR C677T, genotype of AA and C allele of MTHFR A1298C, and genotype of AA, AG and G allele of MTRR A66G were different between cases and controls (all p were < 0.05). There were significant interactions between MTHFR C677T-A1298C and MTHFR A1298C-MTRR A66G in RSA group and control group, with ORs of 1.62 (95%CI: 1.28–2.04, p < 0.001) and 1.55 (95%CI: 1.27–1.88, p < 0.001), respectively. Serum TNFα level and insulin resistant status (HOMR-IR) were higher in RSA group than in control group (p = 0.038, 0.001, respectively). All the three gene SNPs except MTRR 66AG gene variant had detrimental effects on HOMA-IR (all p were < 0.05). RSA group who carried the MTHFR 677CT, TT, CT/TT genotypes and MTRR 66AG, AG/GG genotypes had detrimental effects on serum homocysteine levels, the MTHFR 677CT, CT/TT genotype carriers had favorable effects on serum folate levels, the MTHFR 677TT, CT/TT, 1298 AC, AC/CC genotype carriers had detrimental effects on serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, and the MTRR 66AG genotype carriers had lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels than the AA genotype carriers (all p were < 0.05).

Conclusions

Interaction between the MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTHFR A1298C, MTRR A66G are observed in our RSA group. Besides, all the three gene SNPs except MTRR 66AG gene variant had detrimental effects on HOMA-IR. MTHFR C677T and MTRR A66G gene variants had detrimental effects on serum homocysteine levels and insulin resistance status, while MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G gene variants had detrimental effects on certain serum lipid profiles.

Keywords

  • MTHFR C677T
  • MTHFR A1298C
  • MTRR A66G
  • Homocysteine
  • Lipid profiles
  • Recurrent spontaneous abortion

Background

Recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA) is a common health problem, defined as the loss of two or more consecutive pregnancies before 20 weeks of gestation which is challenging for both the patients and obstetricians [1]. RSA is a complex multi-factorial disorder and caused very often by genetic disorders, uterine pathologies, endocrine dysfunctions, autoimmune diseases, and environmental factors [1]. Dyslipidemia has been postulated as association with adverse pregnancy outcome, including RSA [2].

Dyslipidemia, as mainly defined by increased serum total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, serving as a crucial risk factor for some medical diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and insulin resistance, has become a serious public health problem worldwide because of its high prevalence [35]. It was reported that the prevalence of dyslipidemia among Chinese adults increases yearly and the prevalence of dyslipidemia was 52.72% among adults in northwestern China in 2010 [6]. The etiology of dyslipidemia is complicated, both genetic and environmental factors as well as their interactions are considered to be the contributors for the cause of dyslipidemia [7, 8].

The 5–10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T and A1298C and methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) A66G gene, may contribute to the risk of the development of hyperhomocysteinemia and are now believed to be good candidate for susceptibility to dyslipidemia and insulin resistance [9, 10]. Numerous epidemiological studies revealed that high homocysteine levels have been suggested to be associated with changing serum lipid levels.

Recent attention has focused on certain gene polymorphism and biomarkers interaction that may predispose to an increased risk of severe pregnancy complications, including RSA [11]. Only recently genetic analyses of affected patients was it discovered that C677T, A1298C polymorphisms of MTHFR and A66G of MTRR may represent the important candidates for exploration of the risk of developing disease as their key roles for not only in gene expression but also in modifications of serum lipid and homocystein concentrations [12].

Few studies so far have investigated the effect of homocysteine, insulin resistance, TNFαand lipid levels and the MTHFR, MTRR gene polymorphisms on RSA risk. Mtiraoui et al. [13] have demonstrated that MTHFR gene polymorphisms were associated with progression of recurrent miscarriage through elevations of plasma homocysteine levels. Ikkruthi et al. [14] have revealed that hyperhomocysteinemia was associated with hyperlipoproleinemia. Li et al. [9] identified that MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G gene polymorphisms combined with low folate were the major determinant of plasma lipid levels.

In summary, elevated plasma levels of homocysteine may cause RSA and dysregulation of cholesterol and triglyceride biosynthetic pathways, with changed expression by DNA methylation. As a consequence, we hypothesize that the MTHFR and MTRR gene polymorphisms associated with higher levels of homocysteine may be related with different serum lipid levels in the RSA populations. The aim of this study is to explore the interactions of these three gene polymorphisms (MTHFR C677T, MTHFR A1298C and MTRR A66G), homocysteine and serum lipid profiles with RSA in Chinese population.

Methods

Study population

This investigation was carried out as a case–control study conducted between January 1, 2013 and November 12, 2015, in the Gynecology clinic of Liuzhou Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital. A total of 403 women who had 2 or more consecutive spontaneous abortions were diagnosed as RSA and recruited as case group. Control group consisted of 342 healthy women of reproductive age with at least 1 delivery and no history of abortion. Women who had chromosomal abnormalities, personal or family history of thrombosis, induced abortions, infection or systemic diseases were excluded from this study. A questionnaire detailing age, ethnic, education level, gynecological history, smoking, drinking, X-ray contact, chemical exposure, folate supplement, multivitamin supplement were asked to fill and consent form indicating their acceptance to participate were signed and obtained. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Liuzhou Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital.

Laboratory tests

EDTA-anticoagulated blood (5 ml sample) and buccal cell samples were obtained from participants and was processed within 30 min of collection for biochemical analysis and genetic analysis, respectively. The levels of triglyceride (TG), TC, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-C, total protein, homocysteine and fast glucose in blood samples were measured by enzymatic method on a Hitachi Autoanalyzer (Type 7600; Hitachi Ltd., Tokyo, Japan). The levels of folate, vitamin B12 and fast insulin in blood samples were measured by chemi-luminescence method on a Abbott Autoanalyzer (Type i4000SR; Abbott Ltd., America). The levels of IL6 and TNFα were measured by liquid suspension chip on luminex200 (Austin, Texas, America).

Genotyping

Genomic DNA was extracted from buccal samples using the QIAamp DNA Mini Kit (Qiagen, Valencia, CA, USA). The TaqMan-MGB technique was used for detecting gene polymorphisms of the MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G. The primers and probes were showed in Table 1. Universal reaction conditions in a final volume of 10 μl for each genotyping are as follows: 1 μl of 20 ng/μl DNA, 5 μl of 2 × Taqman Universal Master Mix, 0.5 μl of 20 × TaqMan-MGB assay locus-specific probe, with 3.5 μl of sterile water. All PCR reagents were purchased from ABI Company. The PCR cycling conditions were 1 cycle of 95 °C for 10 min; then 20 cycles of 96 °C for 15 s, 60 °C for 60 s; then 30 cycles of 89 °C for 15 s, 60 °C for 60 s. After PCR amplification, an endpoint plate read was performed using an Applied Biosystems Real-Time PCR System. The Sequence Detection System (SDS) Software uses the fluorescence measurements made during the plate read to plot the fluorescence (Rn) values based on the signals from each well. The plotted fluorescence signals indicate the alleles that are present in each sample. All cycling protocols were performed on a ABI 7900.
Table 1

TaqMan-MGB primers and probes

SNPs

Primers

Probes

Forward

Reverse

Forward

Reverse

MTHFR C677T

GAAAAGCTGCGTGATGATG

TTGAAGGAGAAGGTGTC

AATCG [G]CTCCCGC

AATCG [A]CTCCCGC

MTHFR A1298C

AAGAACGAAGACTTCAAA

TGGGGGGAGGAGCTGAC

ACACTT [G]CTTCACT

ACACTT [T]CTTCACT

MTRR A66G

AGGCAAAGGCCATCGCA

ATCCATGTACCACAGCTT

AAGAAAT [A]TGTGAG

AAGAAAT [G]TGTGAG

Statistical analysis

SAS version 9.4 (Cary, NC, USA) was used to perform the statistical analysis. Continuous variables were analyzed using 2-sample t-tests. Categorical variables were analyzed and compared by χ2 or Fisher’s exact tests. For the main effect of gene-gene variants interactions, unconditional logistic regression was conducted to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A p-value less than 0.05 was considered indicative of statistical significance.

Results

General characteristics, serum lipid levels and allelic frequencies

Table 2 examined the characteristics, homocysteine, serum lipid levels and allelic frequencies of MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G between the RSA group and healthy group. A χ2 analysis has found that folate supplement was higher in control group than in case group (p = 0.048). HOMA-IR index wes higher in the RSA group than in the control group (p = 0.001). The levels of homocysteine, serum total protein, LDL-C and TNFα were higher in RSA group than in control group (all p were < 0.05), whereas the level of HDL-C was lower in RSA group than in control group (p = 0.018).
Table 2

General characteristics and genotype distribution

Variable

Case (n = 403)

Control (n = 342)

t/χ 2

p

Ethnic

0.43

0.805

 Han

198 (49.1)

160 (46.8)

  

 Zhuang

178 (44.2)

159 (46.5)

  

 Minority

27 (6.7)

23 (6.7)

  

Education level

1.20

0.550

  ≤ 9 years of school

157 (39.0)

120 (35.1)

  

 10–12 years of school

83 (20.6)

74 (21.6)

  

  ≥ 13 years of school

163 (40.4)

148 (43.3)

  

Gynecological surgery history

1.09

0.298

 Yes

42 (10.4)

28 (8.2)

  

 No

361 (89.6)

314 (91.8)

  

Current smoking

0.10

0.756

 Yes

7 (1.7)

7 (2.0)

  

 No

396 (98.3)

335 (98.0)

  

Passive smoking history

0.003

0.960

 Yes

89 (22.1)

75 (21.9)

  

 No

314 (77.9)

267 (78.1)

  

Drinking history

0.04

0.847

 Yes

43 (10.7)

38 (11.1)

  

 No

360 (89.3)

304 (88.9)

  

X-ray contact history

0.52

0.596

 Yes

1 (0.2)

2 (0.6)

  

 No

402 (99.8)

340 (99.4)

  

Chemical exposure history

3.41

0.065

 Yes

1 (0.2)

5 (1.5)

  

 No

402 (99.8)

337 (98.5)

  

Folic acid supplement

3.91

0.048

 Yes

131 (32.5)

135 (39.5)

  

 No

272 (67.5)

207 (60.5)

  

Multivitamin supplement

1.38

0.240

 Yes

17 (4.2)

9 (2.6)

  

 No

386 (95.8)

333 (97.4)

  

Age, year

29.58 ± 5.48

29.88 ± 5.28

0.85

0.673

Folic acid, nmol/L

32.45 ± 8.86

34.35 ± 18.98

−1.79

0.072

Vitamin B12, pg/ml

352.70 ± 124.01

347.48 ± 124.10

0.57

0.567

Homocysteine, umol/L

11.89 ± 4.62

11.20 ± 3.40

2.36

0.018

Total protein, g/L

72.17 ± 6.79

70.67 ± 9.47

2.52

0.012

Total cholesterol, mmol/L

5.43 ± 20.10

4.42 ± 1.91

0.92

0.359

Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.06 ± 0.69

1.03 ± 0.55

0.62

0.536

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.66 ± 0.38

1.73 ± 0.38

−2.38

0.018

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.61 ± 0.77

2.41 ± 0.68

3.62

< 0.001

Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.93 ± 0.38

4.92 ± 0.19

0.15

0.884

Fasting insulin, pmol/L

71.13 ± 14.82

67.60 ± 13.84

3.35

0.001

HOMR-IR

2.23 ± 0.45

2.12 ± 0.41

3.48

0.001

IL6, pg/ml

75.12 ± 311.20

40.58 ± 202.95

1.82

0.069

TNFα, pg/ml

28.40 ± 92.16

18.28 ± 31.02

2.08

0.038

MTHFR C677T

 CC

213 (52.9)

253 (74.0)

35.24

< 0.001

 CT

153 (38.0)

78 (22.8)

19.87

< 0.001

 TT

37 (9.2)

11 (3.2)

10.92

0.001

 C allele

579 (71.8)

584 (85.4)

 T allele

227 (28.2)

100 (14.6)

39.62

< 0.001

MTHFR A1298C

 AA

231 (57.3)

221 (64.6)

4.13

0.042

 AC

144 (35.7)

102 (29.8)

2.92

0.088

 CC

28 (6.9)

19 (5.6)

0.61

0.436

 A allele

606 (75.2)

544 (79.5)

 C allele

200 (24.8)

140 (20.5)

3.97

0.046

MTRR A66G

 AA

225 (55.8)

226 (66.1)

8.14

0.004

 AG

148 (36.7)

100 (29.2)

4.67

0.031

 GG

30 (7.4)

16 (4.7)

2.44

0.118

 A allele

598 (74.2)

552 (80.7)

 G allele

208 (25.8)

132 (19.3)

8.90

0.003

HOMA-IR Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, IL6 Interleukin 6, TNFα Tumor necrosis factor α

The frequency of MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G alleles and genotypes are shown in Table 2. The frequencies of CC, CT and TT genotypes and T allele of C677T were 0.529, 0.380, 0.092 and 0.282 in cases, compared with 0.740, 0.228, 0.032 and 0.146 in controls, respectively (p < 0.001–0.001). The distribution of genotype of AA and C allele of MTHFR A1298C were slightly different between cases and controls (p = 0.042 and 0.046, respectively). The distribution of genotype of AA, AG and G allele of MTRR A66G were different between cases and controls (p = 0.004, 0.0031 and 0.003, respectively).

The two-factor gene-gene interaction analyses by logistic regression analysis revealed significant interactions between MTHFR C677T-A1298C and MTHFR A1298C-MTRR A66G in RSA group and control group, with ORs of 1.62 (95%CI: 1.28–2.04, p < 0.001) and 1.55 (95%CI, 1.27–1.88, p < 0.001), respectively (Table 3).
Table 3

Interactions between genetic variants in the folate pathway on the risk of recurrent spontaneous abortion

Gen-gen interactions

B

SE

Wald

p

OR

95%CI

C677T-A1298C

0.48

0.12

16.23

0.000

1.62

1.28–2.04

C677T-A66G

0.02

0.08

0.07

0.799

1.02

0.87–1.20

A1298C-A66G

0.44

0.10

18.84

0.000

1.55

1.27–1.88

MTHFR C677T genotypes and serum homocysteine, inflammatory factor and lipid levels

Table 4 shows the interaction of MTHFR C677T gene polymorphism with RSA risk on serum homocysteine, inflammatory factor and lipid levels. All the three gene variants had detrimental effects on HOMA-IR (all p were < 0.05). The CT genotype carriers had higher serum homocysteine levels and lower folate levels in the RSA group than that in the control group (p < 0.001 and 0.047, respectively). The RSA group who carrying TT genotype had higher serum homocysteine and LDL-C levels than that in the control group (p = 0.026 and 0.006, respectively). For those RSA group who carried CT/TT genotype, they had higher serum homocysteine and LDL-C levels and lower folate levels than that in the control group (p = 0.003, 0.018 and 0.012, respectively).
Table 4

Interaction of MTHFR C677T polymorphism with recurrent spontaneous abortion on serum folate and lipid levels

Variable

Case

control

t

p

CC genotype

n = 213

n = 253

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

36.49 ± 6.47

35.29 ± 21.53

0.78

0.434

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

347.23 ± 114.82

346.84 ± 124.51

0.03

0.976

 Homocysteine, umol/L

10.33 ± 4.34

10.83 ± 3.38

−1.39

0.165

 Total protein, g/L

72.87 ± 4.78

70.69 ± 9.99

2.93

0.004

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.48 ± 1.09

4.51 ± 2.13

−0.16

0.873

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.06 ± 0.81

1.03 ± 0.57

0.68

0.494

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.68 ± 0.42

1.74 ± 0.36

−1.81

0.071

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.65 ± 0.84

2.16 ± 0.60

1.78

0.082

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.93 ± 0.38

4.92 ± 0.29

0.26

0.798

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

70.64 ± 14.43

67.90 ± 14.03

2.08

0.038

 HOMR-IR

2.21 ± 0.45

2.12 ± 0.42

2.12

0.035

 IL6, pg/ml

81.84 ± 339.77

33.09 ± 215.37

1.89

0.058

 TNFα, pg/ml

29.11 ± 88.72

18.86 ± 30.27

1.75

0.081

CT genotype

n = 153

n = 78

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

32.73 ± 7.85

38.43 ± 9.29

−3.55

0.000

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

359.98 ± 131.88

353.94 ± 115.88

0.33

0.745

 Homocysteine, umol/L

12.65 ± 3.97

11.71 ± 3.06

1.99

0.047

 Total protein, g/L

71.68 ± 8.05

70.61 ± 8.01

0.92

0.361

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

6.99 ± 32.56

4.17 ± 0.81

0.72

0.475

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.02 ± 0.52

0.95 ± 0.37

0.97

0.332

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.67 ± 0.33

1.72 ± 0.48

−0.92

0.358

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.59 ± 0.78

2.39 ± 0.74

1.82

0.070

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.95 ± 0.37

4.88 ± 0.39

0.62

0.532

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

72.28 ± 15.42

66.89 ± 12.57

2.86

0.005

 HOMR-IR

2.27 ± 0.47

2.11 ± 0.36

2.83

0.005

 IL6, pg/ml

72.60 ± 275.52

41.08 ± 147.43

1.09

0.276

 TNFα, pg/ml

29.34 ± 106.30

16.52 ± 34.81

1.25

0.210

TT genotype

n = 37

n = 11

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

25.72 ± 7.67

24.54 ± 7.84

0.45

0.658

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

354.14 ± 142.24

322.82 ± 167.57

0.62

0.541

 Homocysteine, umol/L

17.80 ± 2.86

15.93 ± 2.08

2.39

0.026

 Total protein, g/L

70.17 ± 9.96

70.42 ± 3.79

−0.08

0.933

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.34 ± 1.01

3.96 ± 0.80

1.13

0.265

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.11 ± 0.57

1.49 ± 0.73

−1.85

0.071

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.58 ± 0.33

1.62 ± 0.26

−0.31

0.761

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.61 ± 0.76

2.43 ± 0.67

2.78

0.006

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.95 ± 0.43

4.79 ± 0.36

1.38

0.175

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

70.52 ± 16.13

67.86 ± 17.26

0.55

0.583

 HOMR-IR

2.21 ± 0.45

2.07 ± 0.54

0.96

0.341

 IL6, pg/ml

14.94 ± 43.01

104.44 ± 273.61

−1.58

0.126

 TNFα, pg/ml

15.72 ± 29.57

20.42 ± 19.78

−0.65

0.521

CT /TTgenotype

n = 190

n = 89

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

31.31 ± 8.99

35.11 ± 21.36

−2.96

0.003

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

358.84 ± 133.59

349.61 ± 123.50

0.53

0.598

 Homocysteine, umol/L

12.37 ± 4.57

11.52 ± 3.65

2.52

0.012

 Total protein, g/L

71.39 ± 8.45

70.59 ± 7.55

0.73

0.465

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

6.48 ± 29.22

4.14 ± 0.81

0.71

0.478

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.04 ± 0.53

1.03 ± 0.47

0.14

0.887

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.66 ± 0.34

1.71 ± 0.45

−1.08

0.281

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.61 ± 0.79

2.36 ± 0.72

2.38

0.018

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.95 ± 0.38

4.94 ± 0.39

0.15

0.158

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

71.99 ± 15.50

67.08 ± 13.55

2.78

0.006

 HOMR-IR

2.26 ± 0.47

2.11 ± 0.40

2.96

0.003

 IL6, pg/ml

63.25 ± 253.50

53.54 ± 119.70

0.37

0.714

 TNFα, pg/ml

15.72 ± 29.57

20.42 ± 19.78

−0.65

0.521

HOMA-IR Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, IL6 Interleukin 6, TNFα: Tumor necrosis factor α

MTHFR A1298C genotypes and serum homocysteine, lipid levels

Table 5 shows the interaction of MTHFR A1298C gene polymorphism with RSA risk on serum homocysteine and lipid levels. All the three gene variants had detrimental effects on HOMA-IR (all p were < 0.05). The AA genotype carriers had lower HDL-C levels in the RSA group than that in the control group (p = 0.012). The RSA group who carrying AC genotype had higher serum LDL-C levels than that in the control group (p < 0.001). For RSA cases who carried AC/CC genotype, they had higher serum LDL-C levels than that in the control group (p < 0.001).
Table 5

Interaction of MTHFR A1298C polymorphism with recurrent spontaneous abortion on serum folate and lipid levels

Variable

Case

control

t

p

AA genotype

n = 231

n = 221

 

 Folic acid, nmol/L

31.28 ± 9.77

33.89 ± 23.08

−1.58

0.115

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

352.21 ± 125.06

347.58 ± 124.71

0.39

0.694

 Homocysteine, umol/L

11.93 ± 4.63

11.27 ± 2.75

1.81

0.071

 Total protein, g/L

71.91 ± 7.99

70.26 ± 10.93

1.83

0.067

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.32 ± 0.84

4.47 ± 2.08

−1.05

0.295

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.07 ± 0.77

1.06 ± 0.59

0.13

0.894

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.67 ± 0.39

1.76 ± 0.40

−2.51

0.012

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.56 ± 0.74

2.45 ± 0.71

1.65

0.101

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.92 ± 0.37

4.92 ± 0.38

0.02

0.987

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

72.88 ± 14.93

67.83 ± 14.42

3.55

< 0.001

 HOMR-IR

2.28 ± 0.46

2.12 ± 0.43

3.74

< 0.001

 IL6, pg/ml

58.24 ± 239.93

36.23 ± 138.03

1.19

0.235

 TNFα, pg/ml

29.47 ± 108.57

19.73 ± 35.54

1.29

0.198

AC genotype

n = 144

n = 102

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

34.18 ± 6.80

35.24 ± 6.50

−1.23

0.218

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

354.39 ± 129.77

350.37 ± 116.89

0.25

0.804

 Homocysteine, umol/L

11.85 ± 4.63

11.06 ± 4.35

1.49

0.137

 Total protein, g/L

72.69 ± 4.52

71.63 ± 6.12

1.52

0.129

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

7.41 ± 33.55

4.21 ± 1.23

0.96

0.337

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.07 ± 0.59

0.96 ± 0.44

1.54

0.126

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.65 ± 0.36

1.70 ± 0.35

−1.15

0.252

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.73 ± 0.83

2.34 ± 0.65

3.88

0.000

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.95 ± 0.39

4.94 ± 0.42

0.16

0.873

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

68.94 ± 14.64

67.46 ± 13.49

0.03

0.409

 HOMR-IR

2.16 ± 0.43

2.11 ± 0.40

0.89

0.372

 IL6, pg/ml

109.82 ± 422.09

51.87 ± 305.40

1.26

0.208

 TNFα, pg/ml

28.91 ± 69.92

15.59 ± 21.63

2.16

0.032

CC genotype

n = 28

n = 19

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

33.18 ± 9.09

34.99 ± 8.43

−0.69

0.494

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

348.11 ± 80.49

330.79 ± 157.10

0.50

0.622

 Homocysteine, umol/L

12.43 ± 5.99

11.84 ± 4.58

0.36

0.717

 Total protein, g/L

71.67 ± 4.22

70.19 ± 4.62

1.14

0.262

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.27 ± 0.74

4.93 ± 2.66

−1.23

0.226

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

0.89 ± 0.37

1.00 ± 0.49

−0.91

0.366

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.78 ± 0.42

1.62 ± 0.32

1.44

0.156

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.41 ± 0.67

2.38 ± 0.53

0.16

0.876

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.93 ± 0.38

5.00 ± 0.35

−0.81

0.420

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

68.09 ± 13.33

66.68 ± 11.63

0.45

0.657

 HOMR-IR

2.14 ± 0.46

2.12 ± 0.36

0.24

0.809

 IL6, pg/ml

37.96 ± 81.36

30.61 ± 91.73

0.34

0.735

 TNFα, pg/ml

17.62 ± 22.33

18.33 ± 27.97

−0.11

0.910

AC /CCgenotype

n = 172

n = 121

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

34.02 ± 7.20

35.20 ± 6.80

−1.42

0.155

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

353.37 ± 122.93

347.30 ± 23.50

0.42

0.678

 Homocysteine, umol/L

11.86 ± 4.63

11.06 ± 4.35

1.49

0.137

 Total protein, g/L

72.52 ± 4.73

71.40 ± 5.92

1.80

0.073

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

6.92 ± 30.79

4.32 ± 1.55

0.93

0.356

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.04 ± 0.57

0.96 ± 0.45

1.14

0.253

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.67 ± 0.37

1.68 ± 0.35

−0.42

0.672

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.67 ± 0.81

2.35 ± 0.63

3.69

0.000

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.94 ± 0.39

4.95 ± 0.40

−0.22

0.826

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

68.79 ± 14.39

67.27 ± 13.02

0.98

0.325

 HOMR-IR

2.16 ± 0.43

2.11 ± 0.39

0.93

0.351

 IL6, pg/ml

97.57 ± 386.58

46.67 ± 269.04

1.37

0.170

 TNFα, pg/ml

26.98 ± 64.43

16.26 ± 23.26

2.04

0.042

HOMA-IR Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, IL6 Interleukin 6, TNFα Tumor necrosis factor α

MTRR A66G genotypes and serum homocysteine, lipid levels

Table 6 shows the interaction of MTRR A66G gene polymorphism with RSA risk on serum homocysteine and lipid levels. The AA genotype carriers had higher HOMA-IR, total protein and LDL-C levels in the RSA group than that in the control group (p = 0.011, 0.008 and < 0.001, respectively). The RSA group who carrying AG genotype had higher serum homocysteine levels and lower serum HDL-C levels than that in the control group (p = 0.047 and 0.010, respectively). For RSA patients who carried AG/GG genotype, they had higher HOMA-IR, serum homocysteine levels than that in the control group (p = 0.020 and 0.030, respectively).
Table 6

Interaction of MTRR A66G polymorphism with recurrent spontaneous abortion on serum folate and lipid levels

Variable

Case

control

t

p

AA genotype

n = 225

n = 226

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

33.20 ± 9.06

33.58 ± 8.42

−0.57

0.572

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

362.49 ± 134.76

346.12 ± 126.65

1.33

0.185

 Homocysteine, umol/L

11.38 ± 4.59

11.05 ± 3.49

0.86

0.393

 Total protein, g/L

72.83 ± 5.21

71.08 ± 8.41

2.64

0.008

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

6.27 ± 26.85

4.48 ± 2.25

0.99

0.320

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

1.17 ± 0.55

1.05 ± 0.56

1.75

0.081

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.68 ± 0.41

1.72 ± 0.39

−1.15

0.251

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.67 ± 0.79

2.39 ± 0.72

3.97

0.000

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.94 ± 0.39

4.92 ± 0.41

0.24

0.820

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

71.08 ± 15.23

67.63 ± 14.54

2.20

0.028

 HOMR-IR

2.23 ± 0.47

2.11 ± 0.42

2.56

0.011

 IL6, pg/ml

67.27 ± 259.61

45.69 ± 255.26

0.79

0.426

 TNFα, pg/ml

26.26 ± 85.51

16.97 ± 22.95

1.47

0.143

AG genotype

n = 148

n = 100

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

31.89 ± 9.38

33.84 ± 7.62

−1.86

0.064

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

335.09 ± 107.21

340.27 ± 117.81

−0.36

0.720

 Homocysteine, umol/L

12.29 ± 4.31

11.29 ± 3.07

1.99

0.047

 Total protein, g/L

71.31 ± 7.81

69.38 ± 11.93

1.54

0.126

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.31 ± 1.06

4.24 ± 0.68

0.58

0.561

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

0.93 ± 0.37

0.98 ± 0.52

−1.00

0.317

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.65 ± 0.33

1.77 ± 0.37

−2.60

0.010

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.52 ± 0.73

2.45 ± 0.61

0.74

0.462

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.94 ± 0.37

4.94 ± 0.38

−0.05

0.960

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

71.43 ± 14.34

68.49 ± 13.09

1.84

0.067

 HOMR-IR

2.24 ± 0.43

2.16 ± 0.40

1.82

0.070

 IL6, pg/ml

102.91 ± 403.61

34.88 ± 120.71

2.02

0.044

 TNFα, pg/ml

28.02 ± 71.11

20.87 ± 40.68

1.08

0.281

GG genotype

n = 30

n = 16

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

30.15 ± 9.40

48.46 ± 80.78

−1.24

0.222

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

366.17 ± 110.06

411.75 ± 114.65

−1.32

0.194

 Homocysteine, umol/L

13.84 ± 5.66

12.71 ± 3.86

0.71

0.480

 Total protein, g/L

71.54 ± 10.64

72.81 ± 4.08

−0.46

0.649

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.56 ± 1.46

4.69 ± 1.92

−0.27

0.792

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

0.87 ± 0.33

1.03 ± 0.56

−1.17

0.250

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.67 ± 0.36

1.69 ± 0.32

−0.22

0.828

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.59 ± 0.87

2.48 ± 0.73

0.43

0.670

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.87 ± 0.33

4.94 ± 0.31

−0.92

0.360

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

70.39 ± 14.95

63.61 ± 12.91

2.19

0.032

 HOMR-IR

2.18 ± 0.46

2.00 ± 0.42

1.81

0.074

 IL6, pg/ml

18.62 ± 36.34

38.53 ± 180.82

−0.62

0.543

 TNFα, pg/ml

37.97 ± 155.97

14.07 ± 15.96

1.08

0.283

AG/GGgenotype

n = 178

n = 116

  

 Folic acid, nmol/L

31.59 ± 8.56

35.86 ± 30.44

−1.76

0.079

 Vitamin B12, pg/ml

340.33 ± 108.01

350.13 ± 119.48

−0.73

0.467

 Homocysteine, umol/L

12.55 ± 4.58

11.49 ± 3.21

2.18

0.030

 Total protein, g/L

71.34 ± 8.32

69.85 ± 11.24

1.31

0.193

 Total cholesterol, mmol/L

4.36 ± 1.14

4.31 ± 0.95

0.39

0.699

 Triglyceride, mmol/L

0.92 ± 0.36

0.98 ± 0.52

−1.38

0.108

 High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

1.65 ± 0.34

1.76 ± 0.37

−2.50

0.113

 Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mmol/L

2.52 ± 0.75

2.46 ± 0.62

0.87

0.383

 Fasting glucose, mmol/L

4.93 ± 0.36

4.94 ± 0.37

−0.48

0.640

 Fasting insulin, pmol/L

71.18 ± 14.46

67.56 ± 13.16

2.54

0.011

 HOMR-IR

2.23 ± 0.43

2.13 ± 0.41

2.34

0.020

 IL6, pg/ml

82.54 ± 353.49

35.57 ± 133.61

1.78

0.077

 TNFα, pg/ml

30.42 ± 98.18

19.58 ± 37.31

1.48

0.141

HOMA-IR Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, IL6 Interleukin 6, TNFα Tumor necrosis factor α

Discussion

We demonstrated that patients carrying the MTHFR 677CT, TT and MTRR 66AG genotypes, as well as MTHFR C677T, MTHFR A1298C and MTRR A66G alleles had a significantly higher risk of experiencing RSA. In the current study, interaction between the MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphism, and interaction between the MTHFR A1298C and the MTRR A66G polymorphism were associated with increased RSA risk. All the three gene SNPs except MTRR 66AG gene variant had detrimental effects on HOMA-IR. We found that compared with control group, RSA group who carried the MTHFR 677CT, TT, CT/TT genotypes and MTRR 66AG, AG/GG genotypes had detrimental effects on serum homocysteine levels, the MTHFR 677CT, CT/TT genotype carriers had favorable effects on serum folate and the MTHFR 677TT, CT/TT, 1298 AC, AC/CC genotype carriers had detrimental effects on serum LDL-C levels, the MTRR 66AG genotype carriers had lower HDL-C levels than the AA genotype carriers.

In our main effect analysis, the MTHFR C677T and MTRR A66G were the two SNPs exhibited a statistically significant association with increased recurrent spontaneous abortion risk. Besides, We also found that the MTHFR 677CT, TT, CT/TT genotypes and MTRR 66AG, AG/GG genotypes showed a higher level of homocysteine than control group and was significantly associated with recurrent spontaneous abortion. This association is biologically plausible. Homocysteine is a key factor in one-carbon folate metabolism, along with folate, is important for the proper development and growth of fetus and placenta, thus maintaining normal pregnancy [15]. It has been well documented that severe deficiency in the gene that encodes the MTHFR and MTRR enzyme reduced specific activity and increased thermolability of the enzyme, causing mild hyperhomocysteine in plasma, considered to be an important pathogenic mechanism for the development of RSA [1618]. Besides support from biologically functional evidence, elevated plasma of homocysteine has been proven to damage the vascular endothelium and involve in placental vascular risk and endothelial dysfunction, thus lead to RSA [19].

The association between recurrent spontaneous abortion and insulin resistance is in arguement. It was reported that increased inflammatory cytokine levels such as TNFα and plasma hyperhomocysteinemia were associated with insulin resistance and endocrine abnormalities [20, 21]. Insulin resistance may have positive association with an increase of plasma hyperhomocysteinemia which may damage pregnancy by interfering with endometrial blood flow and vascular integrity leads to increase the risk of early pregnancy abortion [21].

In Mexico general populations [22] it is observed that people who carried 677 T allele may need more folate intake than those carried the C allele. Our results revealed that the MTHFR 677CT, CT/TT genotype carriers had favorable effects on serum folate, which was in accordance with the previous study demonstrated that folate deficiency related with hyperhomocysteinemia was the risk associated with recurrent abortion [23].

Besides the modest main effect of MTHFR C677T, we also observed significant effect of gene-gene interactions, which were able to amplify the modest effect of the single genetic variant, and enhance the predictive power. Individual patients with the combination of MTHFR 677 T and MTHFR 1298C had a significantly higher risk for RSA than those with the combination of MTHFR 677C and MTHFR 1298A (OR = 1.62, 95% CI: 1.28–2.04, p = 0.004). Logistic regression analysis showed that certain gene-gene interactions among MTHFR 1298C and MTRR 66G predict a higher risk for RSA (OR = 2.36, 95% CI: 1.228–5.297, p = 0.005) compared to those with the combination of MTHFR 1298A and MTRR66A. Our results were consistence with the previous studies which reported that the folate pathway gene variants and gene-gene interactions could significantly impact the occurrence of RSA [18, 24, 25].

Several studies have reported the association between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism, high homocysteine and serum lipid profiles in humans, with some indicating that the T allele was associated with unfavorable lipid profiles [2628]. One study indicated the positive relationship between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and the lipoprotein level in unexplained recurrent miscarriages [29]. We found that the MTHFR 677TT, CT/TT genotypes and MTHFR 1298 AC, AC/CC genotypes had detrimental effects on serum LDL-C levels and the MTRR 66GG genotype had favourable effects on serum HDL-C levels in RSA group. Our study was consistence with the study conducted by Frelut et al. who reported that MTHFR C677T gene variant was significantly increased LDL-C level [30]. Recently, Westerbuck et al. reported that sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) can be activated by endoplasmic reticulum stress which induced by homocysteine [31]. This SREBPs was crucial for the genes responsible for cholesterol biosynthesis, uptake and intracellular accumulation. Besides support from biologically functional evidence, MTHFR-deficient mice presented hyperhomocysteinemia in mice fed control or folate-deficient diets [32]. Moreover, homocysteine was reported inversely correlated with HDL-C [9].

Publications about the influence of MTHFR A1298C mutant on serum lipid metabolic profiles were relatively rare. Chang et al. [33] found no significant associations exist between lipid profiles and MTHFR A1298C gene variants. Li et al. [9] demonstrated that MTHFR C677T and A1298C with low folate showed higher risk of low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p for trend: 0.008 and 0.031). Unlike the previous studies, our data showed that MTHFR A1298C mutant was associated with higher level of LDL-C in RSA group than the healthy controls. Based on the positive association between MTHFR C677T, A1298C and serum homocysteine level [9, 2426], and the favorable effect of homocysteine level on lipid metabolism [9], we speculate that MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphism and high homocysteine level interactively increased the prevalence of dyslipidemia in RSA patients.

MTRR is responsible for homocysteine remethylation. The MTRR A66G polymorphism results in its enzyme expression and affecting plasma homocysteine levels [34]. Homocysteine levels further affects serum lipid profiles [9, 34]. Many previous studies have explored the relationship between the MTRR gene polymorphisms and serum or plasma lipid profiles in humans, but with no consistence results [3437]. For example, Misiak et al. [35] found there was no significant association between MTRR 66GG and TG or HDL-C levels in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls. But Jiang et al. [34] revealed that hypertensive patients who carried the MTRR 66GG genotype had lower serum TC and LDL-C levels than patients carried MTRR 66AA genotype. Zhi et al. [37] revealed that MTRR 66GG genotype was associated with increased risk of high TG (TG ≥1.7 mmol/L), while no significant association was found between this polymorphism and low HDL-C levels. Our data revealed that the MTRR 66AG genotype carriers had lower HDL-C levels than the AA genotype carriers, which was consistence with the previous studies reported that MTRR gene variants can affect the lipid metabolisms via plasma homocysteine levels [3437]. But the molecular mechanism of these metabolites under conditions of folate pathway gene polymorphisms with dyslipidemia in different diseases especially RSA is not fully understood, and is worthy to be explored in the future.

Limitation

There are some limitations to our study. First of all, the single-center design may limit the generalizability of our study results. Secondly, this case-control study is hospital-based and selection bias may exist, however, since the controls were from the same region with cases and were randomly selected from health examination population, which may reduce the effect of selection bias.

Conclusions

In conclusion, we present the first study to date in the interactions of the MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G polymorphisms with the RSA risk on some serum lipid profiles. Interaction between the MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTHFR A1298C, MTRR A66G are observed in our RSA group. Besides, all the three gene SNPs except MTRR 66AG gene variant had detrimental effects on HOMA-IR. MTHFR C677T and MTRR A66G gene variants had detrimental effects on serum homocysteine levels, while MTHFR C677T, A1298C and MTRR A66G gene variants had detrimental effects on certain serum lipid profiles. Further studies are in urgent to confirm or refute our findings in the future.

Notes

Abbreviations

95%CIs: 

95% confidence intervals

HDL-C: 

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol

HOMA-IR: 

Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance

IL6: 

Interleukin 6

LDL-C: 

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

MTHFR: 

5–10 methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase

MTRR: 

Methionine synthase reductase

ORs: 

Odds ratios

RSA: 

Recurrent spontaneous abortion

SREBPs: 

Sterol regulatory element binding proteins

TC: 

Total cholesterol

TG: 

Triglyceride

TNFα: 

Tumor necrosis factor α

Declarations

Acknowledgements

Not applicable.

Funding

This manuscript was funded by Natural Science Foundation of Guangxi Province (No. 2017GXNSFAA198193, No. 2017GXNSFAA198157), Guangxi Medical and Health Self-funding Project (No. Z2016537, No. Z2016550, No. Z20170495 and No. Z20170542), Key Research and Development Program of Guangxi (No. Guike AB18126056), Key Research and Development Program of Liuzhou (No. 2018BJ10301), Scientific Research and Technology Development Project of Liuzhou (No. 2018DB20501) and The Key Project of Science and Technolog in Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine (YN2016ZD03). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Authors’ contributions

ZL and QL designed the study and drafted an outline. YS, WW, JH and JF participated in data analysis, JF draft of initial manuscript, ZL, QL and DZ participated in diagnosing RSA and collected the data, JX and DZ critically reviewed and revised the manuscript and all of authors approved the final content off this manuscript.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Liuzhou Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Liuzhou Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital, 50 Yingshan Road, Liuzhou, 545001, Guangxi, China
(2)
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Maternal & Child Health Hospital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guangxi, 530003, China
(3)
Department of Clinical Laboratory, Affiliated Liutie Central Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Liuzhou, 545001, Guangxi, China
(4)
Department of Laboratory Science, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, 510120, Guangdong, China
(5)
Department of Laboratory, Liuzhou Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital, Liuzhou, 545001, Guangxi, China
(6)
Laboratory of Oncology Science and Molecular Biology, ShunDe Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Shunde, 528333, Guangdong, China

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