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Miscarriages may be linked to protein blood levels

Category: Blood and Blood Diseases

There are a number of biochemical imbalances that can lead to the loss of a pregnancy. Certain protein imbalances, such as cytokine levels, can make it difficult for women to sustain a pregnancy and make them more susceptible to miscarriage, according to a new study University Hospital, Coventry. The ongoing loss of an infant could be misread as a fertility issue, but researchers have found that if doctors detect an elevated amount of the protein cytokine in blood tests, it's possible that there could be a bigger problem.

The Warwick Medical School reported that too much cytokine found in blood testing could produce an irregular or shortened fertility window. In some cases, this may have been misread in the past as a simple issue with timing or under-production of gametes, but scientists have found that cytokine IL-33 can cause a reaction in the uterine lining that makes the environment unfit to maintain an embryo. That means that even if women are receiving fertility treatments, the blastocyst won't be able to embed or remain in the uterine lining, because the enhanced cytokine level will cause too much inflammation. The study showed that patients with a history of recurring miscarriages may be experiencing these kinds of protein imbalances, something that gynecologists could consider checking for in patients at any stage leading up to or after a pregnancy.

Biochemical imbalances create risk
Researchers at the Mercy Hospital for Women conducted a study last year showing that elevated amounts of cytokine in the blood tests of pregnant women correlated with a high miscarriage risk. In this study, scientists reviewed nearly 800 cases of prospective mothers, nearly all of which were successful in carrying their babies to term. OF the 2.7 percent who were unable to do so, heightened cytokine concentrations were present in the first six to 10 weeks of gestation, which Mercy Hospital researchers stated could have weighed heavily on the outcome of the pregnancy. 

Finding commonality among these cases may help doctors identify risk factors in couples trying to conceive. It may also assist them in performing the right kind of blood testing in the event of a miscarriage, as a multitude of fertility problems can be ruled at with a simple blood test.

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