Solar cycle predicts folate-sensitive neonatal genotypes at discrete phases of the first trimester of pregnancy: A novel folate-related human embryo loss hypothesis.
Med Hypotheses. 2012 May 18. Epub 2012 May 18. PMID: 22608858
School of Environmental&Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, P.O. Box 127, Brush Rd., Ourimbah, NSW 2258, Australia.
Folate, a key periconceptional nutrient, is ultraviolet light (UV-R) sensitive. We therefore hypothesise that a relationship exists between sunspot activity, a proxy for total solar irradiance (particularly UV-R) reaching Earth, and the occurrence of folate-sensitive, epigenomic-related neonatal genotypes during the first trimester of pregnancy. Limited data is provided to support the hypothesis that the solar cycle predicts folate-related human embryo loss: 379 neonates born at latitude 54°N between 1998 and 2000 were examined for three folate-sensitive, epigenome-related polymorphisms, with solar activity for trimester one accessed via the Royal Greenwich Observatory-US Air force/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sunspot Database (34,110 total observation days). Logistic regression showed solar activity predicts C677T-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (C677T-MTHFR) and A66G-methionine synthase reductase (A66G-MSR) genotype at discrete phases of trimester one. Total and maximal sunspot activity predicts C677T-MTHFR genotype for days 31-60 of trimester one (p=0.0181 and 0.0366, respectively) and A66G-MSR genotype for days 61-90 of trimester one (p=0.0072 and 0.0105, respectively). Loss of UV-R sensitive folate associated with the sunspot cycle might therefore interact with variant folate genes to perturb DNA methylation and/or elaboration of the primary base sequence (thymidylate synthesis), as well as increase embryo-toxic homocysteine. We hypothesise that this may influence embryo viability leading to 677CC-MTHFR and 66GG-MSR embryo loss at times of increased solar activity. This provides an interesting and plausible link between well recognised 'folate gene originated developmental disorders' and 'solar activity/seasonality modulated developmental disorders'.