When it comes to RNA-messenger, or m-RNA, in this period the thought immediately turns to vaccines for the Sars-CoV-2 virus that exploit this technology. But obviously this is not a kind of “exclusive” for preventive vaccination for Covid-19.
Messenger RNA can also be a weapon for unravel other mysteries and it could even become a kind of “Indicator” for some genes that regulate the body’s clock, to the point of revealing even the possible risk of pre-term birth.
What makes him think is a research coordinated by Hanne Hoffmann, which appeared in Journal Biology of Reproduction.
The test in the second quarter
There are two genes that, in some way, can function as real “clocks” of the body’s rhythms, and therefore become a real “timepiece” based on chronobiology studies. Their names? One is called Clock and the other CRY2.
The analysis of American researchers focused precisely on the m-RNA of these genes, who studied just over 150 mothers who had not had previous premature births, a third of which then went into an advance within nine months. Studying the information related to the second quarter, and in particular around the twentieth week, the experts found that in women destined to anticipate the end of the pregnant woman there was a specific RNA-messenger rate of the two genes in question lower than the others.
The hypothesis that derives from this is therefore that this simple blood test could help to reveal who is most at risk of premature birth, with consequent more careful and targeted monitoring of the conditions of mother and baby. The analysis could be particularly useful for women who have already had an early birth and therefore can be reassured about the timing of pregnancy. Obviously the study of the “derivatives” of the clock genes, which also includes other genes, could be useful to understand the future risks of preclampsia and gestational diabetes.
The size of the problem
According to recent data, 7% of the total births in Italy, about 32,000 per year, are pre-term. What does this mean? That the newborn is particularly “hasty” and therefore comes to light early, before the thirty-seventh week of gestation. There are elements that increase the possibility of this happening, such as the fact of expecting twins or in any case carrying more future babies, as well as impacting a possible premature birth earlier.
Regardless of the mechanisms that can contribute to accelerate the first cry, it must however be remembered that if the baby is highly premature and anticipates the birth much, the team of specialists, assisted by technologies, must keep under control different parts of the body, not yet perfectly formed. . First of all, the risk of infections in addition to the respiratory system and lungs must be kept under control: if the childbirth is much anticipated, indeed, their development is far behind.
Especially to consider is the so-called respiratory stress syndrome, linked to the deficiency of a substance called surfactant. This compound has the task of keeping the pulmonary alveoli open, operational units of the respiratory system where the exchanges between air and blood take place, and when these do not open sufficiently, breathing becomes difficult so it is necessary to keep the babies incubated.
Not only. Particularly in the small premature the blood vessels the walls of the arteries are very thin and this greatly increases the risk of bleeding, particularly in the developing brain. The control of cerebral hemorrhages, which can sometimes be responsible for neurological deficits after some time, is carried out with special ultrasound scans repeated regularly. Attention should also be paid to the heart and other organs, such as the eyes.