Can a drug given in high risk pregnancy protect the unborn child from heart disease in later life?

Mitochondrial targeted antioxidant therapy against programming of cardiovascular disease by developmental hypoxia

Dino Giussani (lead researcher)

Cambridge, University of

Start date: 01 June 2014 (Duration 3 years)

Heart and circulatory disease is the UK’s biggest killer. Research to find new ways to prevent it at an early stage could make a huge difference to society. As well as risk factors such as smoking and obesity, scientists have noted that the environment in the womb, and how much oxygen and nutrients are available can influence the development of heart disease in later life. This is an example of a concept called ‘developmental programming’.

Prof Dino Giussani and colleagues have found that low oxygen delivery to the unborn, one of the most common features of complicated pregnancies, can lead to heart disease as an adult. The BHF have now awarded them a grant to find out if an antioxidant drug in complicated pregnancies could protect the unborn against heart disease. They will investigate if treating pregnant rats with a drug called MitoQ during high risk pregnancy will protect their pups from developing heart disease in later life, and if so, how this happens. This study may reveal a new, simple way to protect against future heart disease, even before birth.

Project details

Grant amount £253,562
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 01 June 2014
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/14/5/30547
Status Complete

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