Link August 2017 - Page 49

breakthrough schizophrenia and epilepsy could be linked to immune system during pregnancy R esearchers from the University of Queensland say a protein usually associated with the immune system could play a role in the development of neurological conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. when this system is functioning as motor neuron disease, and the lab inappropriately in utero,” Dr is working towards the development Coulthard said. of new drugs to block disease progression. The study, led by Dr Liam “We blocked a key complement component, called C5a, for three days during pregnancy, and this inhibiting this system could pose a resulted in behavioural abnormalities risk in pregnancy and could prompt in the offspring. recommendations they not be given “Our research demonstrates this “Our findings confirm that drugs to women of child-bearing age,” Dr Coulthard, examined how brain complement factor is essential for the Coulthard said. development is affected by altering proper development of the brain and the activity of the complement has a broader role in addition to its for this target to treat pregnancy- system – which controls innate or function in the immune system.” related inflammatory diseases such as natural immunity – during pregnancy. preeclampsia should be approached inflammation pathways in “Our research in mouse models has shown neural defects can result C5a has been linked to “Any development of drugs with caution.” neurodegenerative conditions such breakthrough 47