Role of oxygen free radicals in teratogenesis; diabetic embryopathy and cocaine-induced birth defects.
Dr. Ernest Zimmerman's laboratory studies the role of oxygen free radicals produced by drugs or maternal factors to induce congenital malformations.
Current research is exploring whether oxidative stress is a causative factor in the pathogenesis of diabetic embryopathy. Employing the Splotch mutation in a mouse model, experiments are testing whether diabetes-induced oxidative stress decreases activity of the Pax-3 protein via a redox control mechanism. Thus, the function of the endogenous Pax-3 protein would be additively inhibited by the heterozygous Splotch genotype and oxidative decrease of Pax-3 activity by diabetes.