RNA Aptamer Selection Against Progesterone 3-biotin to Prevent Breastfeeding Complications Abstract

Areeb Syed
September 1, 2013

RNA Aptamer Selection Against Progesterone 3-biotin to Prevent Breastfeeding Complications

            Progesterone is a key hormone produced by human animal alike to allow for reproduction and in turn ensure the survivability and viability of the species (Harris, 2011).  The molecule is synthesized from cholesterol and serves as a precursor to several other steroid hormones. In humans, progesterone is produced in the ovaries of the female and is produced in the adrenal glands in both males and females. Progesterone also serves a vital role in breastfeeding. During a normal pregnancy cycle, after delivery, the progesterone levels in the female body decreases significantly while the oxytocin level increases which allows for the mother to breastfeed, which not only provides benefits to the newborn child, such as allowing the child to be more resistant to disease and infection early in their life, but also provides benefits for the mother such as delaying and even preventing osteoporosis, and reducing the risk of several types of cancers that predominately affect women (NRDC, 2005). For some women however, progesterone levels might not decrease after giving birth, thereby preventing the mother from breastfeeding, since progesterone is a major inhibitor of lactation (Fuller, 2008).
             Aptamers are nucleic acid species that tightly bind to and inhibit a specific target. An aptamer selected against progesterone could not only prevent breastfeeding complications in the form of pharmaceuticals, which can provide numerous benefits to both the mother and child, but can also serve as a form of birth control. Progesterone is a required hormone to carry a child, and if there aren’t sufficient levels of the hormone, a miscarriage could occur (Lydon, 1995). That is why progesterone levels spike during the pregnancy term. By selecting for an aptamer against progesterone could not only serve as a way to correct a lactation disorder, but also serves as a potential form of birth control.
            The mother’s ability to lactate after delivery and her potential to carry a child in the womb without complications all revolve around the hormone progesterone. During a typical pregnancy cycle, progesterone levels spike in order to care for the developing child, and after delivery the levels drop significantly to allow for lactation. By developing an aptamer against progesterone, one could develop a cost effective pharmaceutical that not only resolves breastfeeding complications that may arise after delivery, but also serves as a “morning-after” pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Specific Aim 1: Select for an aptamer against progesterone that inhibits the molecule to resolve lactations complications.
Specific Aim 2: Select for an aptamer against progesterone that serves as a cost effective birth control pill. 

Ordering Information:
Cayman Chemical
Product Item Number: 9000644
Telephone: 800-364-9897
Cost/unit: $56.00 per 500 ug
Cost/round: $0 (Available in lab)

Fuller, Zoe (2008) “Breastfeeding Limitations: Are some women incapable of breastfeeding? Are formula mothers neglectful?”. Bryn Mawr College
Harris, Gardiner (2011) “Hormone is Said to Cut Risk of Premature Birth”. New York Times
Lydon, John (1995) “Mice lacking progesterone receptor exhibit pleotropic reproductive abnormalities”.

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