Cincinnati Children's Blog

Scientists Prevent Preterm Birth Caused by Gene-environment Interactions

A new study from Cincinnati Children’s provides important new insights into a major global health problem – preterm birth, researchers say.

Reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the research provides evidence that gene-environment interactions are a major contributor to preterm birth and that using a combinatory treatment strategy can prevent preterm delivery in a mouse model.

Preterm birth can leave premature infants who survive with lifelong medical challenges ranging from respiratory distress to developmental problems.

“Although gene-environment interactions are assumed to be major contributors to preterm birth, this concept had not been experimentally interrogated,” said Sudhansu K. Dey, PhD, director of Reproductive Sciences at Cincinnati Children’s, who led the study. “Our studies in mice provide evidence that when a genetic predisposition is combined with mild inflammation, the rate of preterm birth is profoundly increased, provoking preterm birth in 100 percent of the females.”

“The results are also clinically relevant because aspects of the molecular signatures observed in the mouse studies are consistent with those observed in tissue samples of women who had undergone preterm birth,” he added.

Read more about the new study from Science News.

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