The research may contribute to understanding preeclampsia, the most common cause of maternal death in the industrialized world, Fisher said. In this condition, which occurs in nearly one in ten first pregnancies, the placenta does not attach adequately to the uterine wall, starving the fetus of oxygen and threatening the mother's life, she said. Since it is the outer layer of the embryo -- the trophoblast -- that gives rise to the placenta, this process, like the slowing of the early embryo along the uterine wall, probably involves the interaction of L-selectin and carbohydrates, Fisher said.
Lead author on the paper is Olga D. Genbacev, PhD, research cell biologist in stomatology at UCSF. Support for the research includes grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Source: UCSF News www.ucsf.edu