Dr Che Connon, a Research Councils UK Fellow in Stem Cells and Nanomaterials, and his team used a powerful X-ray beam to examine tiny structures within the protective sac - amniotic membrane - which surrounds the developing baby.
This beam can resolve structures far smaller than a light or electron microscope. Furthermore, unlike other more intrusive forms of microscopy, X-ray investigation requires no processing of the tissue before examination, so can produce an accurate measurement of amniotic membrane structure in its normal state.
When the protective sac raptures during labour this is when the mother’s waters burst; if premature rupture occurs it can result in death or mental retardation of the child. Currently premature birth is increasing and 40% are attributed to the early rupture of amniotic membranes. Thus, a better understanding of the rupture process will lead to better treatment, earlier diagnosis and fewer premature deliveries
Dr Connon, an expert in tissue structure, said: “This is of interest to the general public because amniotic membrane rupture is an important stage in the start of labour. More importantly early rupture of the amniotic membranes occurs in up to 20% of all pregnancies worldwide, and is the most common cause of preterm birth, leading to babies dying or having major problems such as cerebral palsy. The paper describes a new breakthrough in understanding the structure of amniotic membranes and how they rupture. Hopefully this will lead to therapies designed to prevent preterm membrane rupture as well.”
“Rupture of amniotic sac has been associated with a weakening of the tissue, but there is very little information available concerning the detailed mechanics of how this actually occurs.”
“We have now identified a regular cross-work arrangement of fibre forming molecules within the amniotic membrane which give the tissue its strength. Furthermore we have detected nanoscale alterations in the molecular arrangement within areas associated with amniotic membrane rupture. These results suggest, for the first time, that it is the loss of this molecular lattice like arrangement that governs the timing of membranes rupture.”
“Therefore, by controlling the amniotic membranes molecular arrangement we believe we can prevent premature rupture and delivery in the future.”
Andrew Hyde | alfa
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences