- September 12, 2012
Science Daily/Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
New research indicates marijuana-like compounds called endocannabinoids alter genes and biological signals critical to the formation of a normal placenta during pregnancy and may contribute to pregnancy complications like preeclampsia. A new study offers evidence that abnormal biological signaling by endocannabinoid lipid molecules produced by the body disrupts the movement of early embryonic cells important to a healthy pregnancy.
"The findings or our investigation raise concerns that exposure to cannabis products may adversely affect early embryo development that is then perpetuated later in pregnancy," said Sudhansu K. Dey, PhD., principal investigator on the study and division director. "Also, given that endocannabinoid signaling plays a key role in the central nervous system, it would be interesting in future studies to examine whether affected cell migration-related genes in early embryos also participate in neuronal cell migration during brain development."