Milwaukee, Wis. – The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a two-year, $377,000 award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study the fetal basis of adult brain disease.
The research, which will be led by principal investigator Jeannette Vasquez Vivar, assistant professor of biophysics, will examine the link between oxygen deficit and loss of a key agent in the regulation of the oxidation-reduction process and in neurotransmitter production in the brain.
Hypoxia, or oxygen deficit, in the preterm fetal brain is an important gestational complication leading to movement disorders such as cerebral palsy and muscle impairments. The mechanism by which hypoxia causes damage to the developing brain remains unknown, although evidence indicates that oxidative stress plays a role.
This mechanism is being investigated in animal models and cell cultures, using several analytical techniques.