Pre-eclampsia affects 7-10% of all pregnancies. It causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine in its initial stages but can lead to fits and ultimately death. Its precise cause remains unknown. In severe forms of pre-eclampsia, particularly in early-onset cases that appear before the 34th week of gestation, the foetus suffers from increasing nutritional and respiratory problems, asphyxia and, ultimately, might die. Women who have had pre-eclampsia also seem to be at significantly increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in later life. The disease is a major health burden worldwide.
Nitric oxide is a gas which is an important signalling molecule in humans. It is one of the few gaseous signalling molecules known and plays an important role in blood pressure control by opening up blood vessels. It is better known as an air pollutant produced by vehicle engines and power plants.
During pregnancy, nitric oxide levels maintain a healthy flow of blood to the baby. When NO levels in the placenta are reduced or the NO is blocked from doing its work the risk of pre-eclampsia can occur. Now researchers at the University of Warwick's Warwick Medical School have uncovered some of the secrets of what can interfere with the protecting properties of NO for pregnant women.
The Warwick Medical School researchers have managed to identify a complex range of problems that affect the way the NO works in the placenta during pre-eclampsia. When the pregnancy is compromised the placenta can also release a hormone called "corticotropin releasing hormone" (CRH - also known as the "stress" hormone). This hormone can directly influence NO production. The Warwick researchers have discovered that in pre-eclampsia there is a fault which does not allow this to occur. This then causes a cascade of signalling abnormalities through a number of protein receptors called GPCRs that prevent activation of the enzyme responsible for NO production.
The researchers also discovered that even if that part of the process works the placenta may still have restricted ability to produce NO in sufficient quantity.
This research has shed an immense amount of light on what can stop this crucial compound from protecting women and their unborn children from pre-eclampsia. Now the Warwick Medical School Researchers are seeking support for research that will target these discoveries with medical interventions that could resolve the problems and allow NO to perform its crucial role. The researchers first hope to target the faulty protein receptors which should activate the enzyme that releases NO.
Peter Dunn | alfa
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy