Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OMRF Reports Prenatal Research

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OMRF Reports Prenatal Research

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - A pair of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientists have discovered that an enzyme previously thought only to be beneficial could pose significant danger to developing embryos.

The research could have implications for prenatal development and for treating lymphedema and liver damage resulting from acetaminophen overdose.

Using genetically engineered mouse embryos, OMRF's Courtney Griffin and Patrick Crosswhite looked at what would happen if they removed a protein that determines how genes get turned on and off during blood vessel development.

The scientists found a marked increase in the activity of plasmin, an enzyme that is known to help break up blood clots and promote blood vessel development. But in a developing embryo, said Griffin, too much of the enzyme can pose a threat.

"Plasmin has always been seen in a positive light, but we're not finding any beneficial aspects of it in early development," said Griffin. "In fact, excessive plasmin does dangerous things in a growing embryo."

The OMRF researchers also found that liver damage could ensue in embryos when the protein that suppresses plasmin activity, known as CHD4, was absent. …

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