Selected vitamin D metabolic gene variants and risk for autism spectrum disorder in the CHARGE Study Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Vitamin D is essential for proper neurodevelopment and cognitive and behavioral function. We examined associations between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and common, functional polymorphisms in vitamin D pathways. METHODS:Children aged 24-60 months enrolled from 2003 to 2009 in the population-based CHARGE case-control study were evaluated clinically and confirmed to have ASD (n=474) or typical development (TD, n=281). Maternal, paternal, and child DNA samples for 384 (81%) families of children with ASD and 234 (83%) families of TD children were genotyped for: TaqI, BsmI, FokI, and Cdx2 in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene, and CYP27B1 rs4646536, GC rs4588, and CYP2R1 rs10741657. Case-control logistic regression, family-based log-linear, and hybrid log-linear analyses were conducted to produce risk estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each allelic variant. RESULTS:Paternal VDR TaqI homozygous variant genotype was significantly associated with ASD in case-control analysis (odds ratio [OR] [CI]: 6.3 [1.9-20.7]) and there was a trend towards increased risk associated with VDR BsmI (OR [CI]: 4.7 [1.6-13.4]). Log-linear triad analyses detected parental imprinting, with greater effects of paternally-derived VDR alleles. Child GC AA-genotype/A-allele was associated with ASD in log-linear and ETDT analyses. A significant association between decreased ASD risk and child CYP2R1 AA-genotype was found in hybrid log-linear analysis. There were limitations of low statistical power for less common alleles due to missing paternal genotypes. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides preliminary evidence that paternal and child vitamin D metabolism could play a role in the etiology of ASD; further research in larger study populations is warranted.


  • Schmidt, Rebecca J
  • Hansen, Robin L
  • Hartiala, Jaana
  • Allayee, Hooman
  • Sconberg, Jaime L
  • Schmidt, Linda C
  • Volk, Heather E
  • Tassone, Flora

publication date

  • 2015