BPoD has moved!

BPoD has recently changed our domain name - we can now be found at bpod.org.uk

Please update your bookmarks!

Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Healing Oxygen

Raising oxygen in foetuses with congenital heart defects can help correct the problem

21 April 2021

Healing Oxygen

Foetal ultrasound scans give pregnant mothers a heartwarming glimpse of their unborn babies. But importantly, during the second trimester, around 20 weeks of pregnancy, they also detect congenital heart defects. The severity of some heart defects can be reduced in the womb by treating the mothers with hyperoxygenation (high levels of oxygen). Researchers now use mice to investigate whether hyperoxygenation can improve congenital heart defects caused by mutations in the Nkx2-5 gene. Foetal Nkx2-5 mutant hearts (pictured, bottom) had excessive sponge-like tissue and defects in the septum that separates the two halves of the heart when compared to normal hearts (top), as revealed by micro-CT. Intermittently giving pregnant mice carrying these mutant foetuses 40% oxygen in their first trimester improved these defects. This gives hope that pregnant women and their partners who test positive for Nkx2-5 mutations could someday similarly treat their unborn babies' heart defects during the first trimester.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.