Developmental delay has been associated with inefficient arsenic methylation capacity in preschool children. Folate and vitamin B12 are important nutrients that produce s-adenosylmethionine during single-carbon metabolism and provide methyl groups for arsenic methylation. The aim of the present study was to explore whether plasma folate and vitamin B12 levels influence arsenic methylation capacity and in turn are related to developmental delay in preschool children. A case–control study was conducted in 178 children with developmental delay and 88 normal children, who were recruited from Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Teaching Hospital from August 2010 to March 2014. Arsenite (AsIII), arsenate (AsV), monomethylarsonic acid (MMAV), and dimethylarsinic acid (DMAV) in the urine was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography-linked hydride generator and atomic absorption spectrometry. Plasma folate and vitamin B12 levels were measured using a SimulTRAC-SNB radioassay. The results show that the combination of high plasma folate and high vitamin B12 levels were correlated with efficient arsenic methylation capacity (low MMAV %, low InAs %, and high DMAV %). High MMAV % significantly increased and high DMAV % and secondary methylation index decreased the odds ratio (OR) of developmental delay in a dose-dependent manner in both low plasma folate and low vitamin B12 (low/low) groups; the multivariate OR and 95% confidence interval were 5.01 (0.83–30.06), 0.21 (0.04–1.23), and 0.20 (0.03–1.20), respectively. This is the first study to show that the combination of high plasma folate and high vitamin B12 levels increases arsenic methylation capacity and indirectly decreases the OR of developmental delay in preschool children.
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