The five-year grant is entitled “Placental miRNAs paracrine and endocrine roles in insulin sensitivity in pregnancy.” Funded by the NIH-NICHD, its overall goal is to investigate mechanisms by which selected candidate placental miRNAs participate in the interplay between placenta and glucose-insulin regulation during pregnancy.” The multi-PI grant is between Tufts Medical Center (Dr. O’Tierney-Ginn) and Harvard University (Dr. Marie-France Hivert). Dr. Patrick Catalano from the MIRI is a co-investigator on the team.
The study abstract is below:
"We hypothesize that miRNA produced in the placenta and regulated by maternal glycemia, act locally and peripherally to manipulate maternal insulin sensitivity during pregnancy. To test this hypothesis, we will leverage our existing perinatal cohorts which include longitudinal prospectively collected plasma samples and insulin sensitivity index (ISI) data derived from oral glucose tolerance tests in the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy. We will also utilize in vitro human primary cellular models to directly test the function of placenta-derived miRNA locally (paracrine actions in placenta) and in insulin-sensitive peripheral tissues (endocrine actions). A detailed understanding of the function and regulation of these placental miRNA may provide us with novel targets for treatment of pathophysiological decreases in insulin sensitivity.”
To find out more about Dr. O’Tierney-Ginn’s work, see the O’Tierney-Ginn Laboratory