Protein May Hold the Key for Female Fertility
Scientists at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recently published a study that identifies a gene that may affect female infertility. The study evaluated the fertility of female mice that had only one copy of the gene and compared it to the fertility of mice that had two copies of the gene. Results indicated that female mice with only one copy of the gene had “significantly reduced fertility”. While the mice mated with male mice that also had either one or two copies of the gene, it made no difference in the fertility rate of the female.
The gene is responsible to produce a protein called adrenomedullin, which affects, besides other functions in the body, the success of implantation of the embryo into the uterine wall during pregnancy. Previous studies showed that decreased levels of adrenomedullin result in a higher risk of pregnancy complications. Even though the findings are with mice, the new study, leads to believe that minor “alterations in gene expression in the human population may contribute significantly to overall reproductive health.”
The study has been published online in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Sept 14, 2006.