A Labor of Love

  • Author: David Bradley
  • Published: 19 November 2010
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
thumbnail image: A Labor of Love

US researchers have worked studiously to discover that microRNAs could have the potential to prevent pre-term births.

In tests with pregnant mice as well as human uterine tissue, the researchers have revealed a feedback cycle involving microRNAs, two proteins, ZEB1 and ZEB2, and the pregnancy hormone progesterone. Specifically, they found that miR-200s
block the expression of ZEB 1 and 2 at least until progesterone levels fall and uterine contractions and labor can begin.

The hope is that controlling the microRNAs might allow this switch to be delayed regardless of progesterone levels.

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