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Researchers Are One Step Closer To Find Cure For Lethal Lung Illness That Affects Infants

Sep, 2022

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Experts are attempting to gain a better understanding of the relationship between enzyme activities and the newborn's pulmonary hypertension in order to reduce early death in babies.

The blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to the lungs open up when a newborn's lungs are filled with air, allowing oxygen to flow from the lungs back to the heart. After the umbilical chord is severed, the brain and the rest of the body are then supplied with oxygen. When a baby is born, the blood arteries that nourish the lungs and the airways that carry oxygen to them branch out and grow in number, giving the baby the capacity to take in more oxygen as they develop. A neonate with pulmonary hypertension develops after the blood vessels and airways stop to grow after birth. Over this lack of growth, the baby's pulmonary blood pressure rises as he or she develops, and not enough blood enters the lungs to provide oxygen to the brain and other organs. Cognitive decline, neurodevelopmental issues, hearing abnormalities   learning challenges can all be caused by the syndrome.

Proteins called enzymes in the body catalyse chemical reactions necessary for regular cell function. According to research, a shortage of an enzyme called AMPK causes a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, which is characterised by high blood pressure in the baby's lungs. The University of Edinburgh scientists genetically modified the smooth muscle cells that line mice's blood arteries to eliminate the AMPK enzyme. All of the mice were born with a syndrome called unexplained newborn’s  pulmonary hypertension, which has no recognised aetiology, and they all died by the time they were 12 weeks old. In this study involving mice, the research team  tried to find a connection between AMPK and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. More research is needed, according to experts, to determine why AMPK deficiency exclusively affects the lungs after delivery.

 Moreover,in order to create new treatments to stop early deaths, experts hope to better understand how this enzyme functions. This study provides a window into hitherto unexplored therapeutic frontiers, which are crucial for improving the management of this devastating condition.

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