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Animal Studies


During gestation the uterus undergoes a series of programmed morphological changes resulting in extensive tissue reorganization in order to accommodate the growing embryo. During uterine remodelling, the processes of cell proliferation and apoptosis are tightly regulated, being the relative extent of these processes fundamental for normal placentation. Indeed, increased levels of apoptosis have been reported to be associated with failing pregnancies, intrauterine growth restriction and pre-eclampsia. The main objective of this study is the understanding of the mechanisms that underpin the dynamic uterine-embryo interactions during successful pregnancy. In addition, as the endocannabinoids are critical in the areas of implantation and miscarriage we intend to study the role of these molecules in the development of the fetoplacental unit.

In this field we are developing the following projects:

  • The role of endocannabinoids in fetoplacental development: towards an understanding of the effects of exocannabinoid exposure during pregnancy
  • The mechanisms underlying normal pregnancy and pregnancy loss of natural foetal resorption.

Relevant publications

  • The endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and metabolizing enzymes during rat fetoplacental development: a role in uterine remodelling
    Fonseca BM., Correia-da-Silva G., Taylor AH., Lam PMW., Marczylo TH., Bell SC., Konje JC., Teixeira NA.
    Int. J. Biochem Cell Biol. In press

  • N-acylethanolamine levels and expression of their metabolizing enzymes during pregnancy
    Fonseca BM., Correia-da-Silva G., Taylor AH., Lam PMW., Marczylo TH., Konje JC., Bell SC., Teixeira NA.
    Endocrinology 151(8): 3965-74. 2010

  • Anandamide-induced cell death: dual effects in primary rat decidual cell cultures
    Fonseca BM, Correia-da-Silva G, Teixeira NA.
    Placenta, Aug;30(8):686-92. 2009

  • Spatio-temporal expression patterns of anandamide-binding receptors in rat implantation sites: evidence for a role of the endocannabinoid system during the period of placental development.
    Fonseca BM, Correia-da-Silva G, Taylor AH, Konje JC, Bell SC, Teixeira NA.
    Reprod Biol Endocrinol. Oct 27, 7 :121-134. 2009

  • Patterns of uterine cellular proliferation and apoptosis in the implantation site of the rat during pregnancy
    Correia-da-Silva G, Bell SC, Howard JH and Teixeira NA.
    Placenta, 25(6): 538-547, 2004

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