Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Crucial Protein Prevents Miscarriages In Mice

Date:
January 25, 2000
Source:
Washington University School Of Medicine
Summary:
A mother's immune system must be kept in check so that it does not attack her baby, which contains foreign genetic material. Yet no comprehensive explanation has emerged about how this process, called fetomaternal tolerance, occurs. A research team now has evidence that an immune system protein called Crry (complement receptor-related gene Y) is crucial for fetomaternal tolerance in mice.

St. Louis, Jan. 21, 2000 -- A mother's immune system must be kept in check so that it does not attack her baby, which contains foreign genetic material. Yet no comprehensive explanation has emerged about how this process, called fetomaternal tolerance, occurs.

Related Articles


A research team now has evidence that an immune system protein called Crry (complement receptor-related gene Y) is crucial for fetomaternal tolerance in mice. Its absence unleashes a destructive attack by the immune system. This causes the developing fetus to be dismantled and its tissue to be reabsorbed by the mother, which is equivalent to a miscarriage in humans. "Without this single molecule, complement components of the mouse immune system are activated, resulting in embryonic death," says Hector D. Molina, M.D., principal investigator of the study published in today's Science.

Molina, an assistant professor of medicine and pathology, led the team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that performed the research. Postdoctoral fellow Chenguang Xu, M.D., and technician Dailing Mao, are lead authors of the article. The team also plans to investigate the role of similar proteins in miscarriages in women.

The rodent Crry protein regulates a branch of the immune system called the complement system, which helps destroy foreign material such as infectious organisms. Crry prevents complement proteins called C3 and C4 from marking cells for immune-system destruction.

Molina's team found that mice that should have given birth to some offspring lacking Crry had smaller litters instead. When the researchers examined similar mice during their 19-day gestation period, they detected complement activity in Crry-free embryos. On the seventh day, outer embryo cells and cells of the developing placentas bore activated complement proteins. Moreover, immune cells called neutrophils had invaded these complement-bound tissues and were entering the Crry-free embryo.

Similar embryos analyzed on the ninth and 10th days of gestation also were undersized, as were the placentas, which are partially derived from embryonic tissue. By the 10th day, there were fewer embryos that lacked Crry. This suggested that the protein's absence had permitted the immune system to destroy embryos, leading to miscarriage.

Molina's team tested this theory by examining mouse embryos lacking both Crry and complement factor C3, which helps activate most components of the complement system. Without C3, Crry's absence had no effect all the embryos developed normally.

Molina suggests that mouse embryos missing only Crry become starved of nutrients as the placenta is destroyed. "It appears that the mother has to constantly control complement activation especially on the surface of the placenta for an embryo to survive," he says.

Two placental proteins perform Crry's duties in humans: decay accelerating factor and membrane cofactor protein. Their role in miscarriage has not been addressed previously, though. "Using the mouse studies as a framework, we can jump to human studies and see whether miscarriages in women also involve complement regulation," Molina says.

The effort will focus on women who have autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus and multiple miscarriages. Molina's team and investigators elsewhere will try to determine whether such women have diminished levels of the Crry-like regulatory proteins and thus might benefit from supplemental therapy. Molina also will study animal models to determine how inadequate activation of C3 in the absence of Crry influences diseases such as lupus.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University School Of Medicine. "A Crucial Protein Prevents Miscarriages In Mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000125052141.htm>.
Washington University School Of Medicine. (2000, January 25). A Crucial Protein Prevents Miscarriages In Mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000125052141.htm
Washington University School Of Medicine. "A Crucial Protein Prevents Miscarriages In Mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000125052141.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins