<p>The maternal environment during the periconceptional period influences foetal growth and development, in part, via epigenetic mechanisms moderated by one-carbon metabolic pathways. During embryonic development, one-carbon metabolism is involved in brain development and neural programming. Derangements in one-carbon metabolism increase (i) the short-term risk of embryonic neural tube-related defects and (ii) long-term childhood behaviour, cognition, and autism spectrum disorders. Here we investigate the association between maternal one-carbon metabolism and foetal and neonatal brain growth and development. Database searching resulted in 26 articles eligible for inclusion. Maternal vitamin B<sub>6</sub>, vitamin B<sub>12</sub>, homocysteine, and choline were not associated with foetal and/or neonatal head growth. First-trimester maternal plasma folate within the normal range (&gt;17 nmol/L) associated with increased foetal head size and head growth, and high erythrocyte folate (1538–1813 nmol/L) with increased cerebellar growth, whereas folate deficiency (&lt;7 nmol/L) associated with a reduced foetal brain volume. Preconceptional folic acid supplement use and specific dietary patterns (associated with increased B vitamins and low homocysteine) increased foetal head size. Although early pregnancy maternal folate appears to be the most independent predictor of foetal brain growth, there is insufficient data to confirm the link between maternal folate and offspring risks for neurodevelopmental diseases.</p>

doi.org/10.3390/genes12101634, hdl.handle.net/1765/137183
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

E. (Eleonora) Rubini, I.M.M. (Inge) Baijens, Alex Horánszky, S. (Sam) Schoenmakers, Kevin D. Sinclair, Melinda Zana, … M. (Melek) Rousian. (2021). Maternal one-carbon metabolism during the periconceptional period and human foetal brain growth: A systematic review. Genes (Vol. 12). doi:10.3390/genes12101634