Polymorphisms of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene are associated with abortion, early embryo loss and recurrent spontaneous abortion in human. However, information on the association between MTHFR polymorphism and cow abortion is scarce. In the present study, the effects of MTHFR polymorphism on cow abortion were investigated. The PCR-SSCP and DNA sequencing were applied to detect the polymorphisms in exon 4 and 7 of MTHFR gene in a total of 569 Chinese Holstein cattles. The homocysteine levels during various periods of pregnancy were detected by HPLC. The results show that 8137C/T SNP was identified in exon 7 of MTHFR, but no polymorphism was detected in exon 4. Association analysis revealed that the 8137C/T mutation was significantly associated with cow abortion (P = 0.0002). Regarding relative risk of incidence, cows with CT genotype showed greater relative risk than those with CC (OR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.40 to 3.00). The blood homocysteine levels of individuals with CT genotype were significantly higher than those with CC genotype during the first 6 months of pregnancy and in non-pregnant cows (P < 0.05). In conclusion, MTHFR may be a beneficial candidate gene to control cow abortion.
Key words: Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), abortion, Chinese Holstein cattle, SNP.
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