New Compounds to Treat, Detect and Prevent Congenital Heart Disease



Executive Summary:


Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common type of congenital defects in humans. It affects 1% of infants born each year. CHD can be caused by environmental exposures as well as having a genetic component to the disease. Studies have shown ~400 genes that are associated with CHD. However, 60% of the time the cause for these defects is unknown. During embryogenesis, the heart will be one of the first to form. Through Bmp, Fgf and Wnt signaling the mesoderm will generate a heart tube, followed by looping of the tube to form ventricles, atria, aortic and pulmonary arteries. If any portion of this signaling is disrupted it can result in CHD.


Description of Technology:


These inventors assessed the embryos of pregnant mice depleted of all essential fatty acids (EFA). The embryos in the EFA-deficient group had normal weight and gross morphology, but a slight developmental delay. When the hearts were histologically analyzed it revealed several grave defects associated with CHD not present in control animals. The inventor then rescued this effect with DHA supplementation. The inventor’s preliminary data suggests that DHA lipoxygenase-derived oxylipin formation is key in cardiovascular development. This invention proposes the supplementation of DHA during pregnancy to prevent congenital heart defects. This is a novel intervention aimed at preventing CHD. The inventor also believes it provides a basis for future treatments to ameliorate symptoms of CHD.


Key Benefits

  • Potentially decrease the number of babies born with congenital heart defects



  • Supplementation in prenatal vitamins
  • Diagnostic tool to prevent CHD


Patent Status


Provisional Patent



Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Anupam Jhingran
Technology Manager
Michigan State University
Aitor Aguirre