Trophoblasts act like macrophages in many ways, and their functions are mediated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. And cholesterol is the molecule used to produce those hormones.
Azenabors research shows that, like its cousin, C. trachomatis does take cholesterol from the trophoblast, and it also reproduces once inside the cell.
Its the same old story, says Azenabor. Only this time the attacked cell is a trophoblast instead of a macrophage, and the depleted cholesterol hinders production of estrogen and progesterone instead of altering toxin production.
Azenabors lab members are continuing their inquiry, and they then will need to test the theories with live animals.
But the scientist is optimistic. Already he has a patented process for blocking the effects of calcium signaling for C. pneumoniae.
If we can prevent C. trachomatis from becoming chronic, we could apply this remedy to pregnancy, he says.
While conducting postdoctoral work at McMaster University in Ontario, he won the Canadian Distinguished Scientist Award in 1998, and moved to the University of Waterloo.
Azenabor joined the UWM faculty in 2001, after working as a scientist in a Chlamydia lab at UWMadison. He jumped at the chance to start his own lab at UWM. Since arriving here he has won several honors, including the Shaw Distinguished Scientist Award from the James D. and Dorothy Shaw Fund in the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
Although he didnt plan on working with Chlamydia for this long, he is now a leading researcher in the field. One attraction, he says, is the work is unpredictable.
When you begin, he says, you never know where you are going to go.
|Contact: Anthony Azenabor|
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee