Tags: Carbon | Monoxide | May | Prevent | Pregnancy | Complication

Carbon Monoxide May Prevent Pregnancy Complication

Friday, 15 September 2006 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- Scientists report that carbon monoxide , a potentially poisonous gas found in cigarette smoke and automobile emissions, prevents the death of placental cells and might become the basis of a treatment for pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition involving high blood pressure thought to stem from problems with the placenta.

Still, the researchers note that carbon monoxide as a treatment for pre-eclampsia is many years away, because they must determine what levels of the chemical are safe for the developing baby and figure out the best way to deliver it to the mother.

Smokers, who inhale relatively high levels of carbon monoxide , have a lower-than-average risk of pre-eclampsia, note Dr. Graeme M. Smith and associates at Queens University Hospital in Kingston, Ontario.

To assess the effects of carbon monoxide on placental cells, the researchers exposed human placental tissue from full-term pregnancies to the gas. They then compared the effects with a sample of unexposed tissue.

The cells in placental tissue exposed to carbon monoxide had a 60-percent lower death rate than cells in unexposed tissue, according to the report in The American Journal of Pathology.

"We have just submitted a grant to carry out a study to confirm the findings clinically," Dr. Smith told Reuters Health. "We have other data (including clinical data) to support that carbon monoxide could be the important player in the decreased risk of pre-eclampsia in association with cigarette smoking."

"I suspect we're three or four years away from pregnant animal studies, to get an idea of 'safe' carbon monoxide levels from the fetal point of view," Smith commented. "That would mean a year or two after that before we'd be looking at human studies. We would have to develop some sort of delivery system. The ideal would likely be to maintain carbon monoxide levels comparable to a moderate (say one pack per day) smoker without all the bad stuff in cigarette smoke."

How realistic is carbon monoxide as a treatment for pregnant smokers? "I'm an optimist by nature," Smith said.

SOURCE: The American Journal of Pathology, September 2006.

Copyright Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

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NEW YORK -- Scientists report that carbon monoxide , a potentially poisonous gas found in cigarette smoke and automobile emissions, prevents the death of placental cells and might become the basis of a treatment for pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition involving high blood...
Carbon,Monoxide,May,Prevent,Pregnancy,Complication
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2006-00-15
Friday, 15 September 2006 12:00 AM
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