Sunday December 8, 2019

Placenta Changes in Older Mothers Leads to Poor Health of Male Child

Placenta changes in older moms not good for male child's heart

0
//
Placenta changes
Researchers have found that placenta changes in mothers over the age of 35 can lead to poor health of the male offspring. Pixabay

Changes occur in the placenta in mothers over age 35 leading to a greater likelihood of poor health in their male offspring and now, scientists have found in animal studies that placenta changes could put male child of older mothers at heart problems in later life.

Both male and female foetuses do not grow as large in older mothers, but there are sex-specific differences in changes to placental development and function.

These are likely to play a central role in the increased likelihood of later-life heart problems and high blood pressure in males, said the team from the University of Cambridge.

In humans, women over 35 are considered to be of advanced maternal age. The study, published in Scientific Reports, looked at pregnant rats of a comparable age.

“This new understanding of placental development and function could contribute to better management of human pregnancies, and development of targeted interventions to improve the long-term health of children born to older mothers,” said Dr Tina Napso, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge and first author of the study.

Child and mother- placenta
Pregnancy in older mothers is associated with a heightened risk of complications for both the mother and her baby due to changes in placenta. Lifetime Stock

Pregnancy in older mothers is associated with a heightened risk of complications for both the mother and her baby.

These include preeclampsia – raised blood pressure in the mother during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, stillbirth and foetal growth restriction.

Until now there has been limited understanding of how the placenta is altered by advanced maternal age.

“With the average age of first pregnancy in women becoming higher and higher, and especially so in developed countries, it is very important to understand how the age of the mother and the sex of the baby interact to determine pregnancy and later-life health of the child,” said Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, lead author of the study.

The placenta transports nutrients and oxygen from mother to foetus, secretes signalling factors into the mother so she supports foetal development, and is the main protective barrier for the foetus against toxins, bacteria, and hormones – such as stress hormones – in the mother’s blood.

It is highly dynamic in nature, and its function can change to help protect the growing fetus when conditions become less favourable for its development, for example through a lack of nutrients or oxygen or when the mother is stressed.

The study found that advanced maternal age reduced the efficiency of the placenta of both male and female foetuses. It affected the structure and function of the placenta more markedly for male fetuses, reducing its ability to support the growth of the fetus.

“A pregnancy at an older age is a costly proposition for the mother, whose body has to decide how nutrients are shared with the foetus. That’s why, overall, foetuses do not grow sufficiently during pregnancy when the mother is older compared to when she is young,” said Dr Napso.

Pregnancy and placenta
Foetuses do not grow sufficiently during pregnancy when the mother is older compared to when she is young. Lifetime Stock

“We now know that growth, as well as gene expression in the placenta is affected in older mothers in a manner that partially depends on sex: changes in the placentas of male fetuses are generally detrimental.”

The research involved collaboration between scientists at the University of Cambridge, the University of Alberta in Canada, the Robinson Research Institute and the University of Adelaide, Australia.

An earlier study performed by the collaborators showed that offspring from mothers who enter pregnancy at an older age have poor heart function and high blood pressure as young adults, and particularly so if they are male.

Also Read- No Age-Restriction on Exercise When it Comes to Heart Health: Study

This new research was conducted to understand why, and whether this sex difference may be due to how the male and female foetuses are supported within the womb in an aged mother.

Although further studies in humans are required, the results suggest the importance of considering the sex of the foetus when giving advice to older pregnant women. (IANS)

Next Story

Genetic Variations Influence Risk of Developing Cancer: Study

Study found that variations in the regions that regulate the expression of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes affect cancer risk

0
Cancer
While minor genetic changes only have a small impact on Cancer risk, the variations analysed in this study are numerous and common in the population. Pixabay

Shedding new light on why some people develop cancer while others do not, a new study has found that a person’s risk of developing cancer is affected by Genetic variations in regions of DNA that do not code for proteins, previously dismissed as “junk DNA”.

This study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, shows that inherited cancer risk is not only affected by mutations in key cancer genes, but that variations in the DNA that controls the expression of these genes can also drive the disease.

The researchers believe that understanding how non-coding DNA affects the development of this disease could one day improve genetic screening for cancer risk.

And in the future, this could lead to new prevention strategies, or help doctors diagnose the disease earlier, when it is more likely to be treated successfully.

“What we found surprised us as it had never been reported before — our results show that small genetic variations work collectively to subtly shift the activity of genes that drive cancer,” said lead researcher of the study John Quackenbush, Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US.

Genetic
Shedding new light on why some people develop Cancer while others do not, a new study has found that a person’s risk of developing cancer is affected by genetic variations in regions of DNA that do not code for proteins, previously dismissed as “junk DNA”. Pixabay

“We hope that this approach could one day save lives by helping to identify people at risk of cancer, as well as other complex diseases,” Quackenbush said.

The researchers investigated 846 genetic changes within non-coding stretches of DNA, identified by previous studies as affecting cancer risk.

These Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) are particular positions in the human genome where a single letter of the genetic code varies between people.

Unlike mutations in coding DNA, such as BRCA, that are rare but significantly raise a person’s risk of developing cancer, non-coding SNPs are relatively common in the population but only slightly increase cancer risk.

The team analysed whether there was a correlation between the presence of a particular SNP and the expression of particular genes.

In total, they looked at over six million genetic variants across 13 different body tissues.

Genetic
The researchers believe that understanding how non-coding DNA affects the development of this disease could one day improve genetic screening for cancer risk. Pixabay

They found that variations in the regions that regulate the expression of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes affect cancer risk.

The study also revealed that these cancer-risk SNPs tend to be specifically located in regions that regulate the immune system and tissue-specific processes — highlighting the importance of these cellular processes to the development of cancer.

ALSO READ: Rise in Phone-related Injuries Linked to iPhone, Pokemon Go

“While minor genetic changes only have a small impact on cancer risk, the variations analysed in this study are numerous and common in the population,” said Emily Farthing, senior research information manager at British charity Cancer Research UK. (IANS)