Get access

Investigations into the etiology of neural tube defects

Authors

  • Robert M. Cabrera,

    1. Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Denise S. Hill,

    1. Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Interdisciplinary Faculty of Toxicology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Analee J. Etheredge,

    1. Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Richard H. Finnell

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
    2. Center for Environment and Rural Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
    • Center for Environmental and Genetic Medicine, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, 2121 W. Holcombe Blvd., Houston, Texas 77030
    Search for more papers by this author

  • The contents of this work are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), NIH.

Abstract

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious malformations affecting approximately 1 per 1000 births, yet the mechanisms by which they arise are unknown. There have been consistent efforts in many fields of research to elucidate the etiology of this multifactorial condition. While no single gene has been identified as a major independent risk factor for NTDs, candidate genes have been proposed that may modify the effects of maternal and/or embryonic exposures. Folate supplementation effectively reduces the occurrence of NTDs and, consequently, has focused much research on metabolism of folate-related pathways during pregnancy and development. Further understanding of normal development and how teratogens can perturb these orchestrated processes also remains at the fore of modern scientific endeavors. The composite of these factors remains fragmented; the aim of this review is to provide the reader with a summary of sentinel and current works in the body of literature addressing NTD disease etiology. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 72:330–344, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary