Possibility of new dysmorphic syndrome…long-term effects need to be tracked
Medical staff have reported that ‘fentanyl’, a powerful synthetic anesthetic painkiller that is dragging the entire United States into a swamp of drug addiction, may cause deformities in the fetus.
Recently, researchers at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Delaware, USA, announced in the international journal Genetics in Medicine Open that fentanyl has the potential to cause birth defects during pregnancy.
Researchers identified a total of 10 infants who had been exposed to various drugs, including fentanyl, during pregnancy. These infants less than one year old commonly showed abnormal characteristics such as short stature, microcephaly (small head), and malformation of the penis, legs, hands, and toes.
Externally, due to abnormal growth, his weight and height were smaller than average, and his head circumference was also 2 to 3 cm smaller, showing microcephaly. In particular, facial features such as drooping eyelids, a short and forward nose tip, and micrognathia with a small chin were also observed.
Physically, △ cleft palate, which is a condition in which the roof of the mouth is pierced and the nose and mouth are open, △ deformities in which the feet and legs turn excessively inward (inversion equinus), △ deformities such as the position of the toes or the shape of the soles of the feet, due to foot joint abnormalities, △ second and third. There were characteristics such as a deformity where the toes were stuck together (syndactyly), a short and wide thumb, and a single transverse palmar crease (STPC).
In particular, genital abnormalities occurred frequently in male children. In 4 out of 5 patients, the penis was bent downward (hypospadias) and the urethra was located below the glans, on the penis, or in the scrotum instead of at the end of the glans (hypospadias genital anomaly).
In addition, three out of five infants who underwent brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) had small brains (hypoplastic corpus callosum).
Researchers are looking for the cause of these deformities in the chemical properties of fentanyl. The molecular structure of fentanyl is similar to ‘AY9944’ and ‘triparanol’, drugs that inhibit cholesterol synthesis.
For this reason, misuse of fentanyl during pregnancy inhibits the synthesis of DHCR7, a cholesterol metabolism enzyme, and interferes with fetal development. In fact, the characteristics of these infants were similar to ‘Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS)’, a malformation disorder caused by congenital defects in enzyme function.
The paper said, “This study shows the possibility of classifying a new malformation disorder syndrome,” and pointed out, “Regarding the spread of fentanyl use, the timing and amount of maternal exposure to fentanyl should be recorded to track the incidence of malformations.”
In addition, the researchers added that in the future, there is a need to conduct further research to determine whether fentanyl affects genetic modification during the fetal period and whether deformed infants are also accompanied by growth dysfunction and intellectual and behavioral disorders in the long term.
The paper is The following link (https://www.gimopen.org/article/S2949-7744%2823%2900843-9/fulltext)You can check the full text here.
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