Research Horizons


Early Data from Asia and Africa Supports Suspected Selenium Role in Preterm Birth Risk

In 2017, a groundbreaking study led by Ge Zhang, MD, PhD and Louis Muglia, MD, PhD, at Cincinnati Children’s revealed six gene loci that appear to play important roles in triggering preterm birth or otherwise affecting the length of pregnancy. One of those genetic clues suggests that women who do not get enough selenium in their diets may be at higher risk of preterm delivery.

That paper, which was funded in part by the March of Dimes and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, prompted a large international effort to delve even deeper into the connections between selenium and preterm birth.  Now, Cincinnati Children’s serves as the coordinating center for more than a dozen research sites in Africa, Asia and Europe that have collected more than 10,000 blood samples from mothers and their newborns to compare selenium levels and analyze related genetic activity.

On Oct. 25, 2019, Nagendra Monagi, MD, a member of our Perinatal Institute, presented a progress update based on the first 2,500 samples analyzed so far through the International Consortium for Selenium, Genetics and Preterm Birth.

Watch the Neonatology Grand Rounds presentation.