Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Mechanisms of Uterine Hemostasis

What are the mechanisms of uterine hemostasis?

Endogenous mechanisms of uterine hemostasis protect women from the bleeding challenges of miscarriage, childbirth, and menstruation. Dysregulation of these mechanisms has implications for the critical public health problems of hormonally-induced venous thromboembolism and hormonally-induced arterial thromboembolism (myocardial infarction and stroke). Our current understanding from multiple epidemiological studies, including the Women’s Health Initiative, is that female sex hormones increase the risk of thrombosis, but what is not understood is by what mechanisms female sex hormones induce thrombosis or to what extent these mechanisms either directly or indirectly induce thrombosis.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Urgent clinical questions hinge on understanding the mechanisms of hormonally-induced thrombosis – questions about how women with various underlying cardiovascular conditions, hematological conditions such as sickle cell disease, and endocrinological conditions such as obesity are differentially affected by endogenous and exogenous hormones.

 

The additional impact of identifying the mechanisms of uterine hemostasis is potentially improving the global health problem of maternal and gynecological hemorrhage. If there is failure of normal uterine hemostasis after childbirth there is the potential for massive postpartum hemorrhage. If there is failure of normal hemostasis during the menstrual cycle there is the potential for acute heavy menstrual bleeding (acute menorrhagia).

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

An understanding of the mechanisms of uterine hemostasis provides the basis for understanding hormonally-induced thrombosis and vice versa. The paradigms of pregnancy; assisted reproductive technologies; contraception; and postmenopausal hormone replacement provide four clinical scenarios across the life cycle where female hormones or their synthetic counterparts provide opportunities for insight into mechanisms of hormonally-induced thrombosis. The NIH/NHLBI can and should support studies that elucidate the mechanisms of uterine hemostasis and hormonally-induced thrombosis and should make such studies a scientific priority. The NIH/NHLBI has the capacity and resources. Studies would include basic science, translational and clinical studies. Although studies would benefit from the participation of other institutes and from the contribution of multiple disciplines, NHLBI should take the lead.

 

Research efforts should be accompanied by cross-disciplinary training opportunities. The Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program is a mentored career development program which connects junior faculty to senior faculty with shared research interests in either women’s health or sex differences research. Junior faculty are supported by institutions who receive grants from the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) and BIRCWH program co-sponsors – multiple institutes which as yet do not include the NHLBI.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Andra James

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Idea No. 872