Study implicates marijuana use in pregnancy problems
New research indicates marijuana-like compounds called endocannabinoids alter genes and biological signals critical to the formation of a normal placenta during pregnancy and may contribute to pregnancy complications like preeclampsia.
A study in the Sept. 14 edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry offers new evidence that abnormal biological signaling by endocannabinoid lipid molecules produced by the body disrupts the movement of early embryonic cells important to a healthy pregnancy, in particular trophoblast cells that form the placenta. Abnormal placental function is common in preeclampsia – a medical condition of unknown cause that is a danger to mother and child.
The research – from scientists in the Division of Reproductive Sciences at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center – analyzed mouse preimplantation embryos mutated to alter endocannabinoid signaling. They found that either silencing or enhancing endocannabinoid signaling adversely affects trophoblast stem cell migration.
"The findings or our investigation raise concerns that exposure to cannabis products may adversely affect early embryo development that is then perpetuated later in pregnancy," said Sudhansu K. Dey, PhD., principal investigator on the study and division director. "Also, given that endocannabinoid signaling plays a key role in the central nervous system, it would be interesting in future studies to examine whether affected cell migration-related genes in early embryos also participate in neuronal cell migration during brain development."
Along with co-first authors Huirong Xie and Xiaofei Sun, Dey and other members of the research team studied mouse embryos that had not yet implanted inside the uterus of the mother. Previous research by Dey's laboratory has shown the timing of critical events in early pregnancy, including when and how well an embryo implants in the uterus, is vital to a healthy pregnancy and birth.
In the current study, researchers conducted DNA microarray analyses to determine how the expression levels of genes important to healthy embryo development were affected in embryos with abnormal endocannabinoid signaling.
In one group of embryos endocannabinoid signaling was silenced by deleting the gene Cnr1, which activates endocannabinoid signaling processes. A second group of mice was mutated to produce elevated endocannabinoid levels similar to that observed in wild type mice treated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active psychotropic agent in cannabis. This was done by deleting the gene Faah, which breaks down molecules that activate endocannabinoid signaling.
In both groups, the expression of numerous genes known to be important to cell movement and embryo development was lower than in normal wild type mice. This included the development and migration of trophoblast stem cells. Trophoblast cells help anchor the conceptus with the uterus and also form much of the placenta, critical to establishment of maternal-fetal circulation and exchange of nutrients.
Researchers said mouse models developed for the current study (with silenced and elevated endocannabinoid signaling) may help advance more extensive studies on the causes of preeclampsia.
Journal reference: Journal of Biological Chemistry
Provided by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
- GABA deficits disturb endocannabinoid system Jan 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Increasing uterine expression of developmental genes may improve IVF success Nov 17, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New brain cells implicated in machinery of cannabinoid signaling Mar 26, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Pregnancy outcome affected by immune system genes Oct 25, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Battle between the placenta and uterus could help explain preeclampsia Oct 11, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
3 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Every day, their baby stopped breathing, his collapsed bronchus blocking the crucial flow of air to his lungs. April and Bryan Gionfriddo watched helplessly, just praying that somehow the dire predictions ...
Medical research 14 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
The human gut is loaded with commensal bacteria – "good" microbes that, among other functions, help the body digest food. The gastrointestinal tract contains literally trillions of such cells, and yet the ...
Medical research 18 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
Medical research 18 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (10) | 1 |
On May 22, JoVE will publish details of a technique to measure the health of human genetic material in relation to a patient's age. The method is demonstrated by the laboratory of Dr. Gil Atzmon at New York's Albert Einste ...
Medical research 22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have a new theory as to why a woman's fertility declines after her mid-30s. They also suggest an approach that might help slow ...
Medical research 23 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified a promising target for treating glioblastoma, one that appears to avoid many of the obstacles that typically frustrate efforts ...
18 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The first symptoms of major depression may be behavioral, but the common mental illness is based in biology—and not limited to the brain.
13 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at Emory Vaccine Center have shown that an immune regulatory molecule called IL-21 is needed for long-lasting antibody responses in mice against viral infections.
7 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Human breastmilk responds quickly to protect the child when there is an infection in mothers or babies, according to new international research led by The University of Western Australia.
19 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
To coincide with the broadcast of Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines (SBS ONE, Sunday 26 May at 8.30pm) the first ever national survey on Australian attitudes to vaccination reveals surprising statistics including half of Australians ...
45 seconds ago | not rated yet | 0