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Research at Mass General
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Dr. Andrea Edlow is a member of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty at Harvard Medical School and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The Edlow Laboratory focuses on the effects of maternal obesity on fetal brain development and offspring behavior, and how these effects are modified by fetal sex.
Our lab was one of the first to use amniotic fluid supernatant and umbilical chord blood to investigate real-time fetal brain development in obese human pregnancy.
Gene expression profiling of these two biofluids identified abnormal gene expression signatures in fetuses of obese women, highlighting dysregulated brain development and increased inflammation.
Using a validated mouse model of maternal diet-induced obesity, we have demonstrated significant sex differences in the impact of maternal obesity on embryonic brain development, catecholamine neurotransmitter signaling, and offspring neurobehavior.
Maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation also significantly influences in utero brain development and offspring behavior.
Ultimately, we anticipate this work will provide targets for a lifestyle/behavioral intervention, and possibly for prenatal therapies that could be given orally to obese pregnant women, to reverse or ameliorate deleterious structural and functional changes.
Andrea Edlow, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School
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