The functionality of the UC vessels, in particular their endothelial layer, is a determining factor for the proper oxygenation and development of the fetus. Complications affecting the cord tissues could have a direct effect on fetal development. Moreover, the detectable changes may serve as markers of the damage imposed on the developing fetus or may be associated with the development of other diseases in later life. Therefore, the primary goal of our study was a comprehensive structural and molecular analysis on the UC vessels impacted by toxic material originated by maternal cigarette smoke. Such complex surveys on the cord vessels are sporadic in the literature, though their study has diverse advantages over studying the placenta and the UC blood. The measured cord blood parameters most likely reflect the circulating toxic agent content and oxidative status of neonates at the time of birth. The harmful agents accumulating in the placenta, of embryonic and maternal origin, do not necessarily enter the embryonic/fetal circulation, and the alterations detected in the placenta do not necessarily reflect the actual effect on the fetus. In contrast, the UC is fully embryonic in origin, and the cord vessels can be considered as an elongation of the vascular system of the developing fetus. On the one hand, alterations in the UC vein clearly indicate the long-term appearance of harmful substances in the fetal circulation and might serve as fingerprints of the damages affecting the developing fetus. On the other hand, changes in the physiological state of the cord have a direct negative influence on the fetal development.
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) leads to higher rates of pulmonary diseases and infections in children. To study the biochemical changes that may precede lung diseases, metabolomic effects on fetal and maternal lungs and plasma from rats exposed to ETS were compared to filtered air control animals. Genome- reconstructed metabolic pathways may be used to map and interpret dysregulation in metabolic networks. However, mass spectrometry-based non-targeted metabolomics datasets often comprise many metabolites for which links to enzymatic reactions have not yet been reported. Hence, network visualizations that rely on current biochemical databases are incomplete and also fail to visualize novel, structurally unidentified metabolites. 2b1af7f3a8