Scientists find key to miscarriages in blood clotting disorder

November 28, 2017
Scientists find key to miscarriages in blood clotting disorder
Prof Harshal Nandurkar and Dr Anushka Samudra are respectively last and first authors on the paper on APS and miscarriage. Credit: Monash University

Monash University researchers have potentially shed light on why women with the rare autoimmune disorder Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) are prone to successive pregnancy losses.

APS causes abnormal blood clots in the arteries or veins along with the risks that go with clotting, including stroke and Deep Vein Thrombosis. For pregnant women the effects of the disorder can be devastating, causing about half of them to be at risk of sequential miscarriages, spontaneous abortions or premature births.

Now researchers in Monash's Australian Centre for Blood Diseases have identified a that may protect against APS miscarriages. The researchers used purpose-bred injected with the antibodies that cause the condition to test the effects of the proteins CD39 and CD73, which work together to produce a molecule known as adenosine. Adenosine has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-clotting properties.

APS occurs when there is an increased level of circulating antibodies – the proteins designed to attack invading pathogens in the system but which, in the case of autoimmune diseases such as APS, attack the body's own cells. It was known that these antibodies were linked to clotting but not all patients with them go on to have APS; a "second hit" was suspected in triggering the disease.

Dr Maithili Sashindranath, a senior researcher on the paper, which appeared in the Journal of Autoimmunity, said the researchers went in search of this second hit.

"We set out specifically to investigate APS-induced miscarriages," Dr Sashindranath said.

The rates of miscarriages were compared in mice that lacked CD39 and CD73, in , and in mice with large amounts of the two proteins in their blood. The study found, as hypothesised, that mice that lacked CD39 and CD73 both had increased rates of miscarriages. Those with no CD39 lost 20% of fetuses. That is a six-fold increase compared with normal mice which lost 3.67% of foetuses. The mice with no CD73 had a three-fold increase.

Mice with large amounts of CD39 had reduced miscarriage rates compared to those without it.

"Effectively what we were able to show is that the loss of CD39 or CD73 is likely to be the second hit – nothing like this has been shown before," Dr Sashindranath said.

The study lays the foundation for investigations looking at blood samples in women with APS to see if they have reduced levels of CD39/CD73 or antibodies which remove the activities of these proteins, she said.

"Down the track we can look at whether we can deliver CD39 to the affected foetuses using new drugs that we have developed and reduce the rate of for these patients. We will also find out if we would be able to predict why some women with APS go on to develop devastating pregnancy complications and some don't."

Explore further: A human enzyme (CD 39) targets the Achilles heel of sepsis

Related Stories

A human enzyme (CD 39) targets the Achilles heel of sepsis

January 5, 2015
There may never be a way to completely prevent infection, but sepsis may have an Achilles heel that would allow for more effective treatment of the condition. In a new report published in the January 2015 issue of the FASEB ...

Study in mice may reveal insights into causes of miscarriages for some women

August 9, 2017
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have identified how natural killer cells in the mouse placenta can cause a fetus to fail to grow in the womb or cause miscarriages.

Researchers describe strategies to decrease immune responses in IBD

November 10, 2015
New research led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) helps explain the role of an immunosuppressive pathway associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition that develops in genetically ...

Researchers pinpoint possible new cause for unexplained miscarriages

November 1, 2011
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have identified a potential new cause for unexplained miscarriages in mice.

Loss of enzyme promotes tumor progression in endometrial cancer

December 7, 2015
Scientists have shown for the first time why loss of the enzyme CD73 in human cancer promotes tumor progression.

Researchers identify biochemical mechanism behind a rare, painful genetic disease

December 13, 2016
A team of researchers at the National Institutes of Health has uncovered a possible biochemical mechanism behind a rare, painful genetic disorder called ACDC disease, which causes calcium buildup in the arteries. The finding ...

Recommended for you

Exposure to larger air particles linked to increased risk of asthma in children

December 15, 2017
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University report statistical evidence that children exposed to airborne coarse particulate matter—a mix of dust, sand and non-exhaust tailpipe emissions, such as tire rubber—are more ...

Bioengineers imagine the future of vaccines and immunotherapy

December 14, 2017
In the not-too-distant future, nanoparticles delivered to a cancer patient's immune cells might teach the cells to destroy tumors. A flu vaccine might look and feel like applying a small, round Band-Aid to your skin.

Immune cells turn back time to achieve memory

December 13, 2017
Memory T cells earn their name by embodying the memory of the immune system - they help the body remember what infections or vaccines someone has been exposed to. But to become memory T cells, the cells go backwards in time, ...

Steroid study sheds light on long term side effects of medicines

December 13, 2017
Fresh insights into key hormones found in commonly prescribed medicines have been discovered, providing further understanding of the medicines' side effects.

The immune cells that help tumors instead of destroying them

December 12, 2017
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-associated deaths. One of the most promising ways to treat it is by immunotherapy, a strategy that turns the patient's immune system against the tumor. In the past twenty years, ...

Cancer gene plays key role in cystic fibrosis lung infections

December 12, 2017
PTEN is best known as a tumor suppressor, a type of protein that protects cells from growing uncontrollably and becoming cancerous. But according to a new study from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), PTEN has a second, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.