Carbon monoxide is rightly feared, as inhaling too much of it is deadly. However, this lethal gas has been shown to have remarkable life-saving properties for foetuses.
Researchers from the Otto-von-Guericke University in Germany have shown that low doses of carbon monoxide can increase the growth of blood vessels in the placenta and establish blood flow in the umbilical cord.
These are both crucial factors in a baby’s health. Problems in placental function and blood flow can result in a 'small for gestational age' baby, miscarriage or perinatal death.
Unlikely help: Carbon monoxide has been shown to prevent miscarriage and perinatal death
Carbon monoxide’s amazing ability is in mimicking the effects of the Heme oxygenase-1 enzyme, which promotes the growth of blood vessels in the placenta and umbilical cord blood flow.
Both miscarriage and pre-eclampsia - a rise in hypertension - are associated with low levels of HO-1 in the placenta.
The researchers used carbon monoxide on mice with unhealthily small foetuses – a condition known as Intrauterine growth restriction - and were able to restore placental function and prevent foetal death without any detrimental effects.
They found that an extended course of low dose carbon monoxide on mice was able to reduce foetal loss from 30 per cent to zero – all the babies survived.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2103763/Deadly-ally-fight-life-Low-doses-carbon-monoxide-prevent-miscarriage.html#ixzz1o4AqwbqM