Up to 10 percent of pregnancies worldwide are affected by intrauterine growth restriction, a poorly understood condition in which a fetus weighs less than 90 percent of fetuses at the same gestational age. Babies born with this condition risk health problems in adulthood, including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
UCLA scientists discovered specific genetic changes in the placentas of women who gave birth to growth-restricted infants. These changes appear to sabotage the ability of the placenta to grow blood vessels and adequately nourish the fetus, interfering with infant's growth in the womb.
KL2 Scholar Alison Chu was co-first author of the study with Shanthie Thamotharan. Sherin Devaskar, the Mattel Executive Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and executive director of the Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute, led the study. Coauthors were Carla Janzen and David Elashoff, leader of the CTSI's Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Program.
Read the study in PLOS One.
Read the UCLA press release.
Learn more about the CTSI KL2 Program.