Studies have indicated a relationship between either gene polymorphism or in vivo B vitamins' nutritional status with cognition in the elderly. However, the combined effects of MTHFR and SLC19A1gene polymorphism with serum folate and vitamin B12 levels on cognition in Chinese adult population remain unclear.
Demographic information of 426 Chinese adults aged from 55 to 90 were collected by a well designed self-administered questionnaire. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment test was utilized to evaluate the cognition status of the participants. MTHFR and SLC19A1 genotyping was analyzed using polymerase chain reaction-ligase detection reaction (PCR- LDR) method. Serum folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine (Hcy) levels were detected by commercial assay kits. Pearson's correlation was used for data analyses and statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
Serum Hcylevels demonstrated a negative correlation with serum folate (r = -0.301) and vitamin B12 (r = -0.292) levels. The negative correlation found between serum Hcy levels and attention ability was observed in all 426 studied subjects (r = -0.122). Subjects with MTHFR 677 T/T and 1298 A/A genotypes demonstrated a higher serum Hcy levels (p < 0.05). Carriers of MTHFR (1298 A/C + C/C and 1793 G/A) and SLC19A1 80 G/G genotypes showed lower abstraction and delayed memory ability, respectively (p < 0.05). Subjects with MTHFR 1793 G/A genotype along with low serum folate concentration demonstrated the lowest name and orientation abilities. The effects of MTHFR 1793 G/A genotype on cognitive performance were dependent on the status of serum vitamin B12.
Cognition of adults was associated with MTHFR, SLC19A1 gene polymorphism and serum Hcy levels. This study clearly establishes a combined effect of MTHFR gene polymorphism and serum B vitamins levels on cognition in Chinese adults.