2008 Vision Grant abstracts

Última actualización el Jueves, Agosto 19, 2010

Ödül "Laurie" Amburgey M.D. Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine Department of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences University of Vermont/Fletcher Allen Health Care

Women who develop hypertension and have protein in their urine during the second half of pregnancy are at risk for neurological complications including seizures. Seizures are life- threatening and are thought to occur from brain swelling, or edema, resulting from leakiness in the brain and the brain’s inability to regulate blood flow. These patients may have substances in their blood that further contribute to brain vessel dysfunction, placing them at high risk for seizures. Our proposed experiments will test the effect of plasma from pre-eclamptic women on the functional properties of brain vessels that contribute to the formation of edema.

Daobin Ding MD PhD Fellow, Maternal-fetal Medicine Department of OB & GYN University of Chicago

Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and death worldwide. The etiology is unknown, though some investigators suggest that genetic component may play an important role, because there is a higher recurrence rate in patients and their families. Based on literature review, we are especially interested in genetics of mitochondria within the placental cells because we believe that mutations there can lead to an overproduction of abnormal oxygen molecules, which can interfere with normal placental development, contributing to the onset of preeclampsia. Therefore, we will determine the role of mitochondrial mutations in preeclampsia.

Jonathan T. McGuane, PhD Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics College of Medicine University of Florida

Preeclampsia is a devastating disease of pregnancy for which no specific treatment exists. Recently, researchers discovered that a placental protein which blocks normal maternal blood vessel function is higher in preeclamptic women. This abnormality causes high blood pressure and decreased blood flow to maternal organs; both characteristics of the disease. We believe that relaxin, a naturally-occurring hormone that has beneficial actions in pregnancy, could directly and indirectly counteract the harmful effects of this placental-derived factor. This could increase blood flow and promote blood vessel health. Thus, relaxin has great potential as a preeclampsia treatment, and could therefore improve maternal/fetal health.

Alexander Panda M.D., M.P.H. Section of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine School of Medicine Yale University

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize components of bacteria, viruses and fungi and are critical to the activation of defense against infection. There is evidence that inappropriate activation of the immune system, including TLRs, during pregnancy may contribute to preeclampsia. To address this question, we propose to characterize TLR function, using methods familiar to our laboratory, in maternal and fetal circulating cells in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia compared to normal pregnancies. These studies should provide new insights into the regulation of the immune system during pregnancy and preeclampsia, and may also suggest potential drug targets or pathways for new treatments.


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