The risk of having a child with a neural tube defect (NTD) can be reduced by maternal, periconceptional supplementation with folic acid, but the underlying folate-dependent protective mechanism remains unclear. N-acetyltransferase 1 is involved in acetylation of aromatic and heterocyclic amines and the catabolism of folates. Hence, functional polymorphisms in NAT1, the gene encoding N-acetyltransferase 1, are plausible risk factors for NTDs. Such variants could exert an influence on the risk of NTDs via their role in acetylation or folate catabolism and could act through the maternal or the embryonic genotype.
NAT1 C1095A genotypes and information on maternal, periconceptional multivitamin use and smoking were obtained as part of a family-based study of spina bifida. Associations between spina bifida and the embryonic and maternal NAT1 C1095A genotypes, and potential NAT1 C1095A genotype–exposure interactions were evaluated using log-linear modeling.
The analyses provided no evidence that the embryonic or maternal NAT1 C1095 genotypes influence the risk of spina bifida independently, or through interactions with maternal use of multivitamins. There was evidence that the embryonic, and possibly the maternal, NAT1 C1095A genotype influence the risk of spina bifida via interactions with maternal smoking status.
The genotype for the NAT1 C1095A polymorphism does not appear to be an independent risk factor for spina bifida. However, the results of these analyses provide preliminary evidence that this polymorphism may be associated with the risk of spina bifida in the offspring of women who smoke during early pregnancy. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.