OXYGEN is important for U and Ur unborn child ..2

OXYGEN is important for U and Ur unborn child  ..2

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2...What is the project trying to achieve?
Is the placenta vulnerable to fluctuating oxygen levels?
The researchers have preliminary evidence that suggests certain structures within cells, called mitochondria, have a vital role to play within the placenta.
Mitochondria are the molecular powerhouses of the cell. They generate the energy that the placenta needs in order to work properly. To do this, mitochondria need a constant supply of oxygen.
However, towards the end of the first three months of pregnancy, when the mother’s blood vessels infiltrate the placenta, its oxygen supply fluctuates dramatically. The researchers believe that fluctuating oxygen levels might stop mitochondria from working properly, meaning they cannot generate enough energy to fulfil the needs of the placenta. This could have knock-on effects on the baby’s health, causing pregnancy complications such as fetal growth restriction.

The researchers are investigating their theories in detail, looking at the molecular pathways involved. They are studying the effect of a fluctuating oxygen supply on mitochondria in cells from placentas taken from 50 to 100 women, some with healthy pregnancies, some whose babies have fetal growth restriction and others who live at high altitude, where oxygen levels are low.

3... What are the researchers' credentials?
Project LeaderDr A Murray MBiochem DPhil
Project teamProfessor Graham Burton MA MD DSc
LocationDepartment of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, Centre for Trophoblast Research, University of Cambridge
Other locationsCentre for Trophoblast Research, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge
Duration3 years
Grant awarded29 July 2010
Start date20 September 2010
End date31 January 2014
Grant amount£162,391
Grant codeSP4545, GN1776

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