Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New discovery may help doctors treat infertility

21.07.2005


New research suggests that medications commonly referred to as fertility drugs may be ineffective for women who lack a gene called the estrogen receptor beta. The study showed that fertility drugs did not improve ovulation rates in mice that were genetically engineered to lack estrogen receptor beta. The estrogen receptor beta is one of two estrogen receptor proteins which mediate the effects of estrogen hormones and are present throughout the female reproductive tissues. These new data indicate that this receptor plays a critical role in ovulation, and suggests that women who do not have this receptor may benefit more from alternative infertility treatments. The findings are reported in Endocrinology, published in August 2005.



"What we found is that the beta estrogen receptor plays a role in moving the egg outside the ovary so it can be fertilized," said Kenneth Korach, Ph.D., Laboratory Chief at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) where the research was conducted. "We never knew before what function this receptor played in reproduction."

If the results from this animal study are found to be applicable to humans, a simple blood test will be able to provide enough information to determine if a genetic mutation may be altering the function of the estrogen receptor beta. The results of this blood test, coupled with information from other medical tests and evaluations conducted by the physician, will help diagnose infertility and better determine treatment options.


"Dealing with infertility can be emotionally, financially, and physically draining" said Dr. David Schwartz, Director of the NIEHS, a part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the research. "If we can help couples understand the reasons for their infertility, doctors can further define their treatment options, help them to minimize the expense and risk of taking drugs that may be less effective for them, and increase their chances of having a safe and healthy child," he added.

The NIEHS researchers treated normal female mice and female mice that lack estrogen receptor beta with fertility drugs similar to those commonly used by women undergoing fertility treatments. The mice lacking this receptor are more likely to exhibit infertility or subfertility, including producing fewer offspring, or having less frequent pregnancies. Treatment with fertility drugs did not improve ovulation rates in these studies.

Years of study have shown that the hormone estrogen plays an important role in a variety of systems, most especially female reproduction. However, it was generally thought that there was only one receptor, the alpha receptor, that responded to estrogen. It wasn’t until 1996 that the second receptor, estrogen receptor beta, was discovered. The current study provides evidence that the beta receptor plays a more significant role in ovarian function than the alpha receptor. Researchers would like to further their investigation into the role of the beta receptor by studying women already undergoing fertility treatment.

"The tools and animal models necessary to do these types of studies have only recently become available, but are already helping us to better understand the role of estrogen in the ovary," said John Couse, Ph.D., lead author of the August paper.

An earlier NIEHS study published in the June issue of Endocrinology, used a test tube or in vitro approach, to elucidate the role that estrogen receptors play in ovulation. "The combination of the two different methods, the in vivo and in vitro studies, complement each other nicely and provide more precise answers to the role that the estrogen receptor beta plays in ovulation," said lead author Judith Emmen, Ph.D.

The estrogen receptor beta is also known to respond to environmental and dietary chemicals that can mimic the effects of estrogen and stimulate the body’s natural hormones. One example is genistein, a common component of soy products. These new studies by Korach and colleagues suggest that such environmental exposures could interact with estrogen receptor beta and possibly alter ovarian function in women.

Robin Mackar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy

28.06.2017 | Awards Funding

Predicting eruptions using satellites and math

28.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

Extremely fine measurements of motion in orbiting supermassive black holes

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>