Carbon monoxide therapy may prevent miscarriage


Low dose carbon monoxide therapy is able to restore placental function and even prevent fetal death without negative side effects. Placental function can be compromised when blood flow is not sufficient for growth. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is essential for the growth of blood vessels that supply the placenta with nutrients and also important for establishing blood flow in the umbilical cord. Not enough HO-1 can lead to restriction in the growth of the fetus and even fetal death and miscarriage. Experiments on mice show that low dose carbon monoxide therapy can remedy the problem.

Intrauterine growth restriction because of placental function and reduced blood flow can result in low birth weight babies, also miscarriage and perinatal death. Low levels of HO-1 are also associated with pre-eclampsia and miscarriage. New research shows that carbon monoxide can mimic the effect of HO-1.

“At the levels used to prevent fetal death we found that inhaled low dose car on monoxide was anti-inflammatory. It reduced the amount of cell death (apoptosis), and increased levels of the anti-apoptotic molecule BAG-1, in the placenta and additionally increased the level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is associated with angiogenesis and blood vessel repair,” said Prof. Ana Claudia Zenclussen, research leader.

Babies who survive intrauterine growth restriction have a lifelong increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and renal disease. This treatment may provide critical help to those mothers who are at risk. The dose must be carefully administered. If too high, there was damage to the mouse fetus. “It is very important, given the inherent dangers in using carbon monoxide, that the dose and length of treatment are tightly controlled,” cautioned Prof. Zenclussen.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Medical Gas Research


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