lundi 14 juin 2010

Valproic Acid Monotherapy in Pregnancy and Major Congenital Malformations


The use of valproic acid in the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of spina bifida, but data on the risks of other congenital malformations are limited.

We first combined data from eight published cohort studies (1565 pregnancies in which the women were exposed to valproic acid, among which 118 major malformations were observed) and identified 14 malformations that were significantly more common among the offspring of women who had received valproic acid during the first trimester. We then assessed the associations between use of valproic acid during the first trimester and these 14 malformations by performing a case–control study with the use of the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT) antiepileptic-study database, which is derived from population-based congenital-anomaly registries. Registrations (i.e., pregnancy outcomes with malformations included in EUROCAT) with any of these 14 malformations were compared with two control groups, one consisting of infants with malformations not previously linked to valproic acid use (control group 1), and one consisting of infants with chromosomal abnormalities (control group 2). The data set included 98,075 live births, stillbirths, or terminations with malformations among 3.8 million births in 14 European countries from 1995 through 2005.

Exposure to valproic acid monotherapy was recorded for a total of 180 registrations, with 122 registrations in the case group, 45 in control group 1, and 13 in control group 2. As compared with no use of an antiepileptic drug during the first trimester (control group 1), use of valproic acid monotherapy was associated with significantly increased risks for 6 of the 14 malformations under consideration; the adjusted odds ratios were as follows: spina bifida, 12.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.7 to 20.7); atrial septal defect, 2.5 (95% CI, 1.4 to 4.4); cleft palate, 5.2 (95% CI, 2.8 to 9.9); hypospadias, 4.8 (95% CI, 2.9 to 8.1); polydactyly, 2.2 (95% CI, 1.0 to 4.5); and craniosynostosis, 6.8 (95% CI, 1.8 to 18.8). Results for exposure to valproic acid were similar to results for exposure to other antiepileptic drugs.

The use of valproic acid monotherapy in the first trimester was associated with significantly increased risks of several congenital malformations, as compared with no use of antiepileptic drugs or with use of other antiepileptic drugs.

Journal Reference:
Jentink J. et al. Valproic Acid Monotherapy in Pregnancy and Major Congenital Malformations, NEJM Volume 362:2185-2193 June 10, 2010 Number 23

jeudi 3 juin 2010

The Antifolate Activity of Tea Catechins

A naturally occurring gallated polyphenol isolated from green tea leaves, ( )-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), has been shown to be an inhibitor of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) activity in vitro at concentrations found in the serum and tissues of green tea drinkers (0.1-1.0 Mmol/L). These data
provide the first evidence that the prophylactic effect of green tea drinking on certain forms of cancer, suggested by epidemiologic studies, is due to the inhibition of DHFR by EGCG and could also explain why tea extracts have been traditionally used in ‘‘alternative medicine’’ as anticarcinogenic/antibiotic agents or in the treatment of conditions such
as psoriasis. EGCG exhibited kinetics characteristic of a slow, tight-binding inhibitor of 7,8-dihydrofolate reduction with bovine liver DHFR (KI = 0.109 Mmol/L), but of a classic, reversible, competitive inhibitor with chicken liver DHFR (KI = 10.3 MAmol/L). Structural modeling showed that EGCG can bind to human DHFR at the same site and in a similar orientation to that observed for some structurally characterized DHFR inhibitor complexes. The responses of lymphoma cells to EGCG and known antifolates were similar, that is, a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth (IC50 = 20 Mmol/L for EGCG), G0-G1 phase arrest of the cell cycle, and induction of apoptosis. Folate depletion increased the sensitivity of these cell lines to antifolates and EGCG. These effects were attenuated by growing the cells in a medium containing hypoxanthine-thymidine, consistent with DHFR being the site of action for EGCG.

Our data may also explain why neural tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida, which are usually associated with folic acid deficiency, have been linked to high levels of maternal green tea consumption during the periconceptional

Journal Reference:
Enma Navarro-Pera´n et al. The Antifolate Activity of Tea Catechins. Cancer Res 2005; 65(6): 2059-64