Salamanca research group

By Jose Marín

Since 1997, the Group of Research on Experimental Hepatology and Drug Targeting (HEVEFARM) at the University of Salamanca, Spain has been interested in the study of the causes and disease progression of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Particular attention has been devoted to the investigation of the consequences of bile acid accumulation in the mother on 1) The liver of the developing foetus and 2) The structure and function of the placenta. The group is also interested in evaluating the effect of several drugs, such as ursodeoxycholic acid, on the foetus and placenta of these pregnancies.

Salamanca research group

Recently, the group has directed studies toward the investigation of treating women with ICP using antioxidant drugs and food to enhance the protection of the foetus and the placenta against the oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by the over-production of reactive oxygen-related molecules; so called free-radicals which are caused by the accumulation of bile acids in the maternal blood. Because of the great interest in investigating this disease, and in order to improve the available therapy to improve the condition of these pregnant women and reduce risk to the foetus, several collaborative studies are being conducted. These form part of a joint effort with research groups from several European countries, in particular with that of Dr Catherine Williamson at Imperial College, in London.

More information on the research group, staff, activities, and a complete list of publications can be found via the HEVEFARM Web site: (