2015 Funding Round - Project

Professor Larry Chamley
The University of Auckland
A healthy life starts with a bio-energetically healthy placenta
36 months

Lay summary

For 9 months we absolutely rely on our placenta functioning correctly. The placenta carries out the functions of the kidneys, lungs, gut and liver of an adult yet it is poorly studied. Many diseases of pregnancy including stillbirths, recurrent miscarriages and preeclampsia are caused by placentas that don’t work properly but we are unable to treat placentas that do not work properly. We will study autoantibodies that cause placentas to stop working properly by damaging the mitochondria in the placenta. Mitochondria supply energy to cells and when they fail in the placenta, cells of the placenta begin to die and the placenta does not work properly. We will also investigate whether other factors in the blood of women with pregnancy diseases also cause the placental mitochondria to stop working and will attempt to identify therapies that can prevent failure of the mitochondria that we might use to treat malfunctioning placentas.

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