| THURSDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthScoutNews) -- A gene that helps blood vessels form in developing babies is a key player in a chromosomal abnormality that causes birth defects in the heart and throughout the body.
An international study in the February issue of Nature Medicine says that abnormalities in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are a cause of DiGeorge syndrome.
This syndrome can cause a wide range of heart defects. It can also cause mental retardation, problems in the thymus and parathyroid gland, and craniofacial defects.
Finding out how and why abnormalities occur in VEGF may help scientists find ways to prevent them.
In this study, scientists studied animals, including mice and zebra fish, and DNA samples from people with DiGeorge syndrome.
Here's where you can learn more about DiGeorge syndrome.
SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, Feb. 4, 2003
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