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Risk factors of neural tube defects: A reality of Batna region in Algeria

Romyla Bourouba
Bakhouche Houcher
Nejat Akar


Background: Neural tube defects (NTDs) are severe birth defects, with  genetic and/or environmental risk factors.
Aim: The objective of this study was to analyze data on NTDs cases at the Batna Maternity Hospital and to investigate some environmental and two genetic risk factors suspected in the etiology of NTDs.
Subjects and methods: This study was conducted on 82 healthy participants and 48 mothers with an NTD child. Peripheral blood samples were collected, in EDTA tubes and frozen at 20 C until DNA extraction by conventional  method. Genetic analysis of methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase C677T polymorphism was determined by real time PCR, while cystathionine- beta-synthase 844 insertion was investigated by traditional PCR.  Chi-square analyses were used to evaluate differences in the distribution of data. The odds-ratio was also calculated. A P-value less than 0.05 were significant.
Results: The incidence of NTD in Batna region was 1.58 per 1000 births. The rate of NTD was significantly higher in females than males, highest affected NTD newborn’s was observed in mothers aged between 25 and 29 years and the consanguinity among all NTD cases was 30%. Data showed no significant association of NTDs with personal education, obesity, diabetes, but regarding folic acid consumption, about 86% of NTD’s mothers in our region didn’t take pre-conceptional supplementation with this vitamin .Genetic factors results didn’t show a significant association of NTDs with specific mutations of the variant C677T MTHFR, and no  gene-gene interaction of CBS insertion and C677T polymorphism was found, despite a significant difference in heterozygote frequency of CBS 844ins68 genotype between NTD’s mothers and controls, OR: 2.85(1.18–6.88).
Conclusion: NTD represents a real public health problem in Batna, Algeria. Various genetic and/or nutritional factors are implicated, although the mechanism is not clear. We suggest that further research should continue planning for preventive measures and effective treatment to reduce the incidence of NTDs in Algeria.

Keywords: Neural tube defects Environmental factors Genes mutations Batna Algeria

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eISSN: 1110-8630