Vasso Terzidou

Vasso Terzidou is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. She is a member of the Imperial College Parturition Research Group.

Her principal research interests are the biochemistry and endocrinology of human term and preterm labour and the prediction and prevention of preterm birth.

Identify biomarkers for preterm labour which can be used to predict risk, aetiology and likely response to treatment for preterm delivery

vasso-terziduo-gene expression-preterm birthMicroRNAs are small nucleotide molecules which have recently been discovered to regulate gene expression. Our preliminary studies support a role of microRNAs in the changes that occur to the pregnant uterus and fetal membranes with the onset of labour. Our novel studies suggest a panel of 11 micoRNAs in blood can predict women at risk to deliver preterm as early as 12 weeks gestation. Research is underway to discover whether these biomarkers can predict which interventions (progesterone, cervical cerclage etc) are more protective for women to reduce the risk for preterm birth.

 

Designing next generation tocolytics:
G protein receptor coupling in the uterus -Oxytocin and prostaglandin signaling in parturition and preterm labour

Cells in every tissue of the body, including the womb, communicate to each other by sending and responding to chemical messages such as hormones. Coordinating this communication is essential for all systems in the body including those controlling pregnancy and labour. These messages are received when hormones bind to the cell surface through proteins called receptors, which relay the message on in to the cell. The group of receptors, which is the focus of our research, are called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), so called due to the mechanism of how these receptors communicate. It is not known what causes preterm labour, but research suggests important roles for inflammation as well as contractions, yet current drugs used to control contractions only can delay labour, but as they do not control inflammation in the womb, the health of the unborn baby is still at high risk. We have shown that both labour and inflammation increase womb sensitivity to oxytocin (OT), a hormone well known to drive contractions, by increasing the number of oxytocin receptors (OTR). Prostaglandins (PG), a group of substances that participate in a wide range of body functions, have a long history of being involved in the process of labour. OT receptor and PG receptors are GPCRs that also control inflammation, as well as contractions, in pregnancy.vasso-terziduo-oxytocin-preterm birth Our studies suggest a complex relationship between PG and OT signals with inflammation and labour, and that targeting these GPCRs will lead to an effective treatment in delaying preterm birth. Therefore the goal of this project is to understand how these receptors control contractions and inflammation in labour by gaining a detailed understanding of the specific signals activated by OT and PG GPCRs in the womb. The outcome of this work will help us provide detailed knowledge of how these GPCRs control labour in order to provide key information in designing new drugs that manage pre-term labour, which importantly, lead to the birth of healthy babies.

Kim SH, Bennett PR, Terzidou V, 2017, Advances in the role of oxytocin receptors in human parturitionMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology, Vol:449, ISSN:0303-7207, Pages:56-63

Cook JR, Chatfield S, Chandiramani M, et al., 2017, Cerclage position, cervical length and preterm delivery in women undergoing ultrasound indicated cervical cerclage: A retrospective cohort study, Plos One, Vol:12, ISSN:1932-6203

Kim SH, Pohl O, Chollet A, et al., 2017, Differential Effects of Oxytocin Receptor Antagonists, Atosiban and Nolasiban, on Oxytocin Receptor-Mediated Signaling in Human Amnion and Myometrium, Molecular Pharmacology, Vol:91, ISSN:0026-895X, Pages:403-U201