Tania Maria Ruffoni Ortiga from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil will measure the levels of so-called ABC transporters throughout pregnancy, and during normal and preterm labor, and how they are influenced by infections such as malaria and influenza, to determine whether they might increase the risk of preterm labor. ABC transporters sit in the outer membranes of cells and actively transport drugs, toxins and immune signaling molecules out of them. In this way, they regulate the immune response, hormonal signaling and the activity of drugs such as antibiotics, which become particularly important during pregnancy and labor. They will collect human intrauterine tissue at different time points during pregnancy and during cesarean delivery from hospitals in Brazil and Canada, and investigate the distribution of ABC transporters and the association with infection. They will also use a mouse model of malaria to evaluate the effect on the levels and activity of the transporters.
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