2006 Grants

Characterization of decidual prostaglandin F synthase. Professor Andres Lopez Bernal, Dr John Crosby and Professor Michel A Fortier, University of Bristol and Universitaire de Quebec £117,447 over 3 years [National Birthday Trust Fund]

LAY TITLE: Identification of labour-inducing enzymes in the lining of the uterus

Preterm labour accounts for 7% of deliveries and remains a major cause of long term disability or death of the newborn baby, with enormous psychological trauma to the parents and high cost in medical care. Preterm labour remains a major clinical problem due to the poor understanding of the mechanism behind activation of the womb for birth.

The decidua forms the lining of the womb and is an important tissue involved in implantation and the establishment of pregnancy, but its role in the mechanism of birth is not fully understood. This study will compare tissues from pregnant women before and after labour to establish if there are possible differences in the activity of a group of decidual enzymes (aldoreductases) associated with premature birth. These enzymes have dual roles in the uterus: increasing the production of prostaglandins (a group of hormones involved in the onset of labour) and reducing the activity of pregnancy-maintaining hormones.

The proposed research will increase our knowledge of the mechanism for birth and point the way for a safer, more efficient treatment of preterm labour.

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