About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Insights into Early Pregnancy Problems

by Hannah Joy on February 12, 2018 at 12:10 PM
Font : A-A+

New Insights into Early Pregnancy Problems

New insights into the earliest stages of pregnancy have been discovered using 3D imaging with molecular testing.

Investigators in the Division of Reproductive Sciences at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report their data in Nature Communications. They demonstrate in mice that glands in the uterus must link and communicate directly with the embryo so it will implant and begin pregnancy.

Advertisement


"We show that glands nourish the embryos within the crypt by forging a direct connection between the two entities," says the study's senior investigator, Sudhansu K. Dey, PhD, the director of Reproductive Sciences. "The gland secretions produce molecules essential to embryo development. Without Vangl2, the glands do not extend and connect to the embryo, and the embryo does not properly implant."

The Vangl2 gene is critical to glands extending to the embryo, according to the research team, which included co-first authors Jia Yuan, PhD, and Wenbo Deng, PhD, both members of Dey's laboratory.
Advertisement

The researchers are looking for answers to pregnancy problems to help address high rates of preterm birth and infant mortality, which remain persistent health challenges in modern society. This study is just one puzzle piece in an expanding body of research trying to unravel the genetic, molecular and lifestyle causes, according to Dey.

3D View of Pregnancy

In their study, researchers produced unprecedented visual and molecular detail about the early stages of a normal mouse pregnancy. They then compared normal mouse pregnancy to malformations that occur in the uterus when the gene Vangl2 is deleted from epithelial cells in the lining of uterine cells and glands. Highly conserved and present across species, the Vangl2 gene produces a protein called Van Gogh-Like Protein 2. The protein helps control collective cell movement and spatial arrangement in developing tissues.

In the normal mouse pregnancy, researchers show that glands providing vital molecular support from the mother to developing embryo extend from the uterine lining and connect directly to the embryo. This connection occurs inside implantation chambers in the uterus called crypts. The study reveals that glands remain connected to embryos through pregnancy's early stages. Dey said this is to ensure a competent embryo properly implants in crypts--a critical step to beginning a healthy pregnancy.

Simulating Pregnancy

After disrupting embryo implantation and pregnancy in the mice, the scientists wanted to uncover the molecular mechanism makes glands extend to the embryo and promote implantation. They learned that a growth factor protein called HB-EGF (heparin-binding EGF like growth factor) coordinates with Vangl2 to initiate this process.

HB-EGF is normally expressed in the embryo and crypt. To simulate what occurs in pregnancy, the researchers transferred embryo-sized beads soaked with HB-EGF into the mice uteri. Even in the absence of implanting embryos, the HB-EGF-carrying beads displayed implantation-like responses and showed gland-crypt interaction.

Earlier studies by Dey and colleagues found that HB-EGF is one of the earliest molecular markers for embryo-uterine interaction in implantation. He said the current study adds important new insight to the field of reproductive science by showing what takes place when HB-EGF is expressed by a competent early embryo. HB-EGF expression induces genetic activity in the crypt epithelium that collaborates with Vangl2 to direct communication between glands and the implanting embryo.

Researchers then tested what happened when they administered HB-EGF to mice with deleted Vangl2. Genetic deletion caused mice uterine glands to form improperly and wither the implantation chamber. Although the glands connected to the blastocyst, it was insufficient to support implantation. But when researchers administered HB-EGF to the mice, it rescued pregnancy by restoring the crypt and molecular links between the uterine glands and embryo.

Finding a Human Connection

Still unclear at this point is how the current study's findings apply to human pregnancy, according to Dey and his colleagues. The study opens doors to future research possibilities in other animal models that more closely approximate human pregnancy.

Dey said ethical concerns limit future investigations of these findings during human pregnancy. But he noted that advanced imaging technologies today, including some forms of magnetic resonance imaging, might allow observation of human pregnancy displaying uterus-gland interaction in normal and abnormal pregnancy.

He also said further research is warranted into the potential of HB-EGF as a therapy for problems in pregnancy. But he emphasized the current study's findings only allow conclusions about mouse pregnancy.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Trimester of pregnancy Pregnancy and Exercise Home Pregnancy Test Pregnancy Psychological Changes In Pregnancy Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation Breech Presentation and Delivery Air travel: To fly or not to fly Pregnancy and Antenatal Care AIDS and Pregnancy 

Recommended Reading
Chorioangioma
Chorioangioma refers to the benign tumor of the placenta. It may cause problems during pregnancy ......
Marijuana Use in Pregnancy Problems Implicated By Study
Genes and biological signals critical to the formation of a normal placenta during pregnancy ......
Multivitamins During Pregnancy Can Lower Risk of Autism
Supplementing multivitamins during pregnancy influences brain development and could reduce risk of ....
Taking Antithyroid Drugs During Pregnancy Increases Risk of Birth Defects
Exposure to antithyroid drugs (ATDs) like methimazole (MMI) or propylthiouracil (PTU) during the ......
AIDS and Pregnancy
The Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is brought about by the deadly human immunodeficiency virus....
Air travel: To fly or not to fly
Air travel is for everyone, even those with medical conditions....
Breech Presentation and Delivery
Breech birth or presentation is delivery of the fetus in a bottom or foot-first position. Causes of ...
Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation
During pregnancy & lactation a nutritious diet, suitable exercise, adequate rest and a tranquil mind...
Home Pregnancy Test
A home pregnancy test is a test done to find out if one is pregnant or not in the relative comforts ...
Pregnancy
Detailed look at Early pregnancy Symptoms and easy health solutions during 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimeste...
Pregnancy and Antenatal Care
What is Antenatal care and its importance during pregnancy for mother and baby, with details on the ...
Psychological Changes In Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an experience of growth, change, enrichment and challenge. During the 40 weeks of pregn...
Trimester of pregnancy
Encyclopedia section of medindia explains in brief about confirmation of pregnancy in first ......

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use