Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Fetuses make a protein that causes morning sickness in pregnancy

The article from Science News published on January 3rd, 2024, talks about how it was thought to be a surge of hormones made by the fetuses that caused the nausea and vomiting for mothers, otherwise known as morning sickness. 

A new study found that GDF15, a protein connected to stress response, is found in greater amounts in pregnant patients experiencing nausea and vomiting than in non-symptomatic individuals. Despite reduced GDF15 production prior to pregnancy, a genetic variation in GDF15 raises the risk of hyperemesis gravidarums. High levels of GDF15, coming from the placenta and fetus, are found in pregnant individuals having this variation. Those with beta thalassemia, on the other hand, who have elevated GDF15, have fewer symptoms of nausea. Research on mice suggests that decreasing the nausea effects of GDF15 may include previous exposure. Metabolic syndrome could be prevented by increasing GDF15 with metformin. However more research needs to be done on the safety for GDF15-blocking therapies. Treatments for severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy may benefit from specific medications that target GDF15.

This is important because so many women, about 80 percent of pregnant women, suffer from nausea and vomiting also known as morning sickness and there can be extreme consequences for both the mother and fetus. This can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and even hospitalization and death of the fetus or the mother. If we found a way to cure or prevent morning sickness it would help so many pregnant women.,women%20it%20can%20last%20longer.

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