Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Malaria poses additional risks for first-time mothers

14.11.2006
One of the consequences of malaria has been shown in new research to be an increased likelihood for women in their first pregnancy to develop preeclampsia (very high blood pressure and protein loss in the urine), which carries high risks for both mother and child.

Preeclampsia is thought to be more common in parts of the world where there is a serious malaria problem and it has often been speculated that there might be a connection. Malaria is more common in a first pregnancy and so is preeclampsia. In both cases, the reasons are unknown. Researchers from the USA, UK and Tanzania set out to investigate the possibility that malaria might lead to preeclampsia.

When a pregnant woman has malaria, it can result in a high concentration of malaria parasites developing in the placenta, in which case she is said to have ‘placental malaria’. This is very harmful to the mother and to the fetus; it leads to low birth weight and, in Africa alone, is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of about 200,000 infants every year. A woman who is pregnant for the first time is most likely to suffer from placental malaria, and to have her placenta become highly infected and extremely inflamed. If she later becomes pregnant again, she will be protected to some extent by antibodies she has developed against the parasites in the placenta.

Working with pregnant women in Tanzania, the researchers found that, overall, women with placental malaria were no more likely than other women to develop hypertension. However, for young first-time mothers, having placental malaria increased the risk of hypertension about three-fold. The researchers also measured levels of a substance called sVEGFR1 (sometimes called sFlt1), which is known to increase before and during preeclampsia and is thus considered to be a ‘biomarker’ for the condition. sVEGFR1 levels were high in first-time mothers with either placental malaria or hypertension, or both, but levels were not raised in other mothers with these conditions. A related substance, VEGF, which is known to be involved with the process that causes inflammation, was high in first-time mothers with placental malaria, but not in those who had hypertension alone. sVEGFR1 can bind to VEGF and block its action.

Because sVEGFR1 was produced by the fetus’ cells, and VEGF was produced by the mother’s cells, the scientists concluded that the mother and fetus were in conflict over how to deal with the parasites in the placenta, and that this conflict led to preeclampsia.

The researchers say their findings support the view that, in young first-time mothers only, placental malaria can cause preeclampsia. Action to reduce the chance of such women getting malaria would have the additional benefit of lowering their chance of developing preeclampsia.

Citation: Mutabingwa TK, Bolla MC, Li JL, Domingo GJ, Li X, et al. (2005) Maternal malaria and gravidity interact to modify infant susceptibility to malaria. PLoS Med 3(11): e407.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosmedicine.org
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020407

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur

nachricht MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>