A spy in the blood reveals the risk of giving birth early

A spy in the blood reveals the risk of giving birth early

Messenger RNA is the "indicator" that reveals the possible risk of pre-term birth

When we talk about messenger RNA, or m-RNA, in this period the thought immediately goes to vaccines for the Sars-CoV-2 virus that exploit this technology. But obviously this is not a kind of "exclusive" for preventive vaccination for Covid-19.

RNA-messenger can also be a weapon for unraveling other mysteries and could even become a sort of "indicator" for some genes that regulate the body's clock, to the point of even revealing the possible risk of pre-term birth.

What makes him think is a research coordinated by Hanne Hoffmann, which appeared in Journal Biology of Reproduction.

The test in the second quarter

There are two genes that, in some way, can function as real "clocks" of the body's rhythms, and therefore become a real "timepiece" based on chronobiology studies. Their names? One is called Clock and the other CRY2.

The analysis of American researchers focused precisely on the m-RNA of these genes, who studied just over 150 mothers who had not had previous premature births, a third of which then went on to meet an advance within nine months. Studying the information relating to the second trimester, and in particular around the twentieth week, the experts found that in women destined to anticipate the end of expectation there was a rate of RNA-specific messenger of the two genes in question lower than in the others. .

The hypothesis that derives from this is therefore that this simple blood test could help reveal who is most at risk of premature birth, resulting in more careful and targeted monitoring of the conditions of mother and baby. The analysis could be particularly useful for women who have already had an early birth and therefore can be reassured about the timing of pregnancy. Obviously the study of the “derivatives” of the clock genes, which also includes other genes, could be useful to understand the future risks of preclampsia and gestational diabetes.

The size of the problem

According to recent data, 7% of the total births in Italy, about 32,000 per year, are pre-term. What does this mean? That the newborn is particularly "hasty" and therefore comes to light early, before the thirty-seventh week of gestation. There are elements that increase the possibility of this happening, such as the fact of expecting twins or otherwise carrying more future babies, as well as impacting a possible premature birth earlier.

Regardless of the mechanisms that can contribute to accelerate the first cry, it must however be remembered that if the baby is highly premature and anticipates the birth a lot, the team of specialists, assisted by technologies, must keep under control different parts of the body, not yet perfectly formed. . First of all, it is necessary to keep the risk of infections under control in addition to the respiratory system and lungs: if the birth is very early, in fact, their development is far behind.

Especially to consider is the so-called respiratory stress syndrome, linked to the deficiency of a substance called surfactant. This compound has the task of keeping the pulmonary alveoli open, operational units of the respiratory system where the exchanges between air and blood take place, and when these do not open sufficiently, breathing becomes difficult so it is necessary to keep the babies incubated.

Not only. In the particularly premature baby, the blood vessels and the walls of the arteries are very thin and this greatly increases the risk of undergoing bleeding, particularly in the developing brain. The control of cerebral hemorrhages, which can sometimes be responsible for neurological deficits after some time, is carried out with special ultrasound scans repeated regularly. Attention should also be paid to the heart and other organs, such as the eyes.

Category: Health
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