Study Finds Secrets to High-Performance Pregnancy

Researchers have discovered genetic underpinnings that allow certain populations of tall mice to preserve embryos that grow at high altitudes. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Low birth weights and other complications are frequently associated with high-altitude pregnancies. These problems affect a variety of species, including humans and deer mice. „Understanding how deer mice survive and thrive at high altitudes not only informs our understanding of fundamental evolutionary processes, but it may one day provide clues to the treatment of various related disorders in humans,” said Zac Cheviron, UM researcher and associate professor of biology. .

The work was led by Kate Wilsterman, a UM postdoctoral researcher who joined the faculty at Colorado State University. Chevron, UM biology professor Jeff Good and former UM postdoctoral researcher Rena Schweitzer were her chief collaborators in Montana. Their research shows that fetal development is adversely affected by oxygen depletion at high altitude in low-altitude mice. However, high-altitude mice have genetic variants that confer placental modifications that protect fetuses from hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the fetus. This pattern is similar to that seen in people of Tibetan or Andean descent. These human populations preserve fetal development at high altitudes, but researchers do not understand how this is achieved.

Chevron said one of the most exciting aspects of their work was their discovery that many of the genes that target embryonic development in their study species — Highland deer mice — are associated with placental physiology in humans. „This suggests that the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying healthy pregnancies at high altitude may have deep evolutionary roots,” he said. „We can use this insight to develop new treatments to improve pregnancy outcomes in humans.”

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During the study, lowland rats experienced stunted fetal growth under hypoxia conditions, but highland rats avoided the negative effects by replacing their placentas. „If we can understand how deer mice solve the problem of hypoxia for fetal development, we may eventually be able to identify targets for therapeutic development in humans or be in a better position to identify where things are going,” Wilsterman said. Mistake in pregnancy diseases involving hypoxia.” (ANI)

(This story was not edited by DevDiscourse staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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