• Current Projects

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    Numerous studies confirm the necessity of placental angiogenesis and functional fetal and placental vascular beds not only for fetal growth but for sustained placental growth in pregnancies complicated by IUGR have significant impairment in vascular developmental system. We are assessing quantitatively and qualitatively uteroplacental vasculature and placental blood flow through a novel uteroplacental microvasculature imaging, illustrating the impact of IUGR and treatment on placental blood flow, microvasculature and barrier morphology. This novel method of placental vasculature visualization allows in-depth analysis of the fetal and maternal vascular compartments. In this project we will be able to assess placental vascular development in normal and abnormal pregnancies as preeclampsia, IUGR and preterm delivery. 

    Little is known about placenta IGF system role in fetal and placental development. We demonstrated that intra-placental gene transfer of IGF-1 restores birthweight in several IUGR animal models and prevent development of adult disease later in life as hypertension and diabetes. The current projects are expected to yield insights into programming of placental and fetal growth by placental insufficiency and IGF-1 treatment and assess a beneficial long term effect following an innovative in utero preventive therapy. The results are expected to have an important positive impact on the development of gene therapy strategies in the placenta and provide groundwork for developing a range of placenta-based therapeutic interventions for pregnancy pathologies.

    Compelling epidemiological and clinical studies have shown a strong association between IUGR and the subsequent development of adult disease. The long-term effects can have significant health and economic impacts. Little is known about phenotyping as well as mechanisms linking fetal growth restriction and adult onset disease. The current projects are expected to yield insights into mechanisms of fetal programming and links to adult diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Further, we are investigating the potential pathways following an innovative in utero preventive therapy of IGF-1. The results are expected to have an important positive impact on the development of gene therapy strategies in the placenta and provide groundwork for developing a range of placenta-based therapeutic interventions for pregnancy pathologies.