The primary focus of our research group is feto- maternal communication in pregnancies with autoimmune, inflammatory rheumatic diseases as well as in pregnancies conceived via ART. We would like to investigate physiological factors involved in the implantation process to achieve better chances of implantation and optimise the risk of pregnancy complications. We investigate two large groups of pregnancies: 1) pregnant women with rheumatic diseases, 2) pregnant women conceived with ART
Pregnancies after IVF/ICSI cycles or pregnancies with underlying connective tissue diseases have increased risk for placentation-derived pregnancy complications. It can be postulated that such elevated risk might result from very early processes, which are inherent to flawed intercellular communication at the stage of conception and early pregnancy. Pregnancies after IVF/ICSI enable us to follow immunological processes from conception to delivery.
In 2017 we established a specialized interdisciplinary ambulatory care unit for women with autoimmune inflammatory diseases for pre-pregnancy and pregnancy counselling at the Medical University of Vienna. This project involved the foundation of a national Registry (Austrian Registry for Rheumatic Disease and Reproduction, RhePro Registry, www.rhepro.at), where detailed prospective patient data has been collected in concordance with a Biobank.
The long-term aim of this study group is to learn more from the immune-pathophysiology of implantation failure and pregnancy complications and develop better screening methods in IVF to avoid them. Moreover, the continuous collection of good quality clinical data in these special group of pregnant women enables us to answer several clinically oriented questions.
- Pregnancy outcome after interdisciplinary counselling in the RehPro outpatient care unit
- Immune-cell profile of umbilical cord tissue and cord blood in pregnancies with rheumatic diseases
- Neurodevelopmental follow- up of children born from pregnancies with rheumatic diseases
- Embryo Quality following IVF in patients with rheumatic diseases.
Methods & Techniques
Analysis of longitudinally collected data; clinical outcome studies; cytokine profiling from serum; follicular fluid and embryo culture medium; separation of extracellular vesicles
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