Chronic fetal hypoxia is a common complication of pregnancy and is associated with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). The IUGR fetus is likely delivered preterm and thereby treated with synthetic potent glucocorticoids, such as dexamethasone, to accelerate fetal lung maturation. Since both chronic fetal hypoxia and exposure to excess glucocorticoids are known to induce oxidative stress and oxidative stress is known to programme cardiovascular dysfunction, it is likely that the IUGR fetus treated with dexamethasone will be at an enhanced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The aim our current programmes of research is to test whether maternal treatment with the mitochondrially-targeted antioxidant mito Q protects the IUGR fetus treated with synthetic steroids from developing cardiovascular disease.
Funding: British Heart Foundation
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