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Demonstrated in vivo the transfer of maternal thyroid hormones to the fetus
Date:4/12/2010

Until now there were only indirect evidence of the transfer of thyroid hormones from mother to fetus through the placenta during pregnancy. That event is very important because the maternal thyroid hormones appear to play a key role in the development of the nervous system and other organs of the fetus; so it's true that in case of maternal thyroid disease, such hypothyroidism, have a direct bearing on the unborn child with reduction, also significant, to its Q.I.. That passage of maternal thyroid hormones to the fetus was clarified through a study, based on a transgenic mouse model, designed and built by a team of Italian researchers led by Prof. Alfredo Pontecorvi, Endocrinologist at Catholic University in Rome.

Thyroid hormones play a role in the development of the nervous system. The lack of these hormones at birth, if not promptly diagnosed and treated, causes severe and irreversible brain damage, producing irreversible mental deficit known as "cretinism". In fact, it does not develop adequately the dense network of interconnections between nerve cells (neurons) and single nerve fibers are not properly covered with insulating myelin sheath covering, which is similar to the rubber sheath that insulates electrical wires, that allows fast transfer of nerve impulses from one neuron to another. It is as if an electrical system had not activated all the necessary contacts and electrical wires were exposed, resulting in a serious malfunction of the entire plant.

"Thyroid hormones appear to be important even during the embryo-fetal period, in the first trimester of pregnancy, when fetal thyroid function has not yet activated - explains Pontecorvi -. It is at this time, in fact, that neurons, forming the heritage breed brain of each of us (about 100 billion neurons), migrate in their homes outright and differentiate to form different centers and brain structures. From this time the nerve cells not will reproduce more while, from 20 years onward, will b
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Contact: Prof. Alfredo Pontecorvi
pontecorvi@rm.unicatt.it
39-333-369-4065
Catholic University of Rome
Source:Eurekalert

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