29 July 2016
A new study has indicated that a commonly-prescribed diabetes therapy may have a role to play in preventing premature births.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center collaborated with scientists from France and Japan to examine the potential benefits of the drug metformin in blocking a significant cause of preterm birth.
The research yielded key insights into how a certain molecular pathway can lead to premature birth by disrupting the function of the decidua, a membrane lining the uterus to supports the growth of developing foetuses.
It was shown that metformin was able to reverse this process to a degree, resulting in a greater chance of full-term births. Similar beneficial effects were associated with the anti-ageing dietary supplement resveratrol, albeit to a lesser degree,
Study leader Dr Sudhansu Dey, director of the division of reproductive sciences at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said: "This proof-of-concept study illuminates a potential mechanism behind preterm birth. It also demonstrates possible remedies that are already approved for human use."
Posted by Philip Briggs
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