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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-489
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Autistic disorder
  • Genes
  • Interaction
  • Prevention
  • Trios
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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