Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key to male infertility

02.07.2007
A factor in immune cells regulates human semen and seems to determine whether a man will be fertile, according to a new study.

Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, and his colleagues at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have isolated an immune substance called macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in semen samples from infertile and reproductively healthy men. MIF is key to helping sperm mature, which is necessary for its union with an egg. The finding could lead to a diagnostic test to determine fertility status.

The study appears in the latest issue of Molecular Medicine. The semen samples were collected from men three to five days after a period of sexual abstinence. The scientists had no idea when analyzing levels of MIF whether the sample came from any of the 68 men who had problems conceiving or from the 27 healthy controls. The findings have a Goldilocks kind of quality: Those with infertility problems had MIF levels that were either too high or too low. Those who had no problems conceiving had levels that were just right.

When the scientists added MIF into lab dishes filled with healthy sperm, it decreased the count and impaired their motility.

If MIF has a role in infertility, Dr. Al-Abed and his colleagues are wondering whether it might just work as a form of male contraception. In the meantime, the scientists have a patent on an assay that can be used to analyze MIF levels to help determine whether a man will have problems conceiving. About 15 percent of couples attempting to get pregnant for the first time have problems conceiving. About 40 percent of infertility problems are due to disorders in the male.

MIF is a key player of the immune system. MIF was identified 40 years ago but it was only recently that scientists discovered its role as a pro-inflammatory substance. MIF has now been linked to many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases - such as diabetes and sepsis - and Al-Abed, an organic chemist by training, has been trying to identify and design small molecules that would block MIF activity.

The Feinstein researchers recently identified a critical area on the MIF protein surface that is crucial for the inflammatory response. Such a substance designed to target this area could be used to treat a variety of conditions, including septic shock, sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. The team designed a specific inhibitor called ISO-1 to fit into this pro-inflammatory site. In an animal model of sepsis, ISO-1 abolishes MIF’s potent inflammatory abilities and the animals respond dramatically. They lived through the once-fatal sepsis.

In patients in the throes of sepsis - an over-reactive and potentially fatal immune response to a bacterial infection - MIF concentrations are 10 to 20 times higher than normal. If MIF goes down, the chance that patients will survive sepsis is increased dramatically. “The idea is to suppress inflammation so that cells stop producing MIF,” said Dr. Al-Abed.

Every year, 215,000 Americans die of sepsis, a systemic inflammatory reaction to infection. Another 500,000 survive the infection, and scientists are still trying to figure out why these patients survive and others don’t. There are no treatments for this massive all-out war on the body. Those who survive often face serious cardiovascular problems. Scientists examining cardiac function during sepsis have identified macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) as a key factor in heart damage. And antibodies targeted to MIF, so-called anti-MIF antibodies, significantly improves cardiac performance during septic shock.

MIF levels are also two times higher in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. In the laboratory, Al-Abed and his colleagues found that having MIF on board in high amounts in animals prone to diabetes set the disease process in motion weeks earlier than expected. The team is now trying to design a clinical study to look at MIF levels in type 1, or juvenile, diabetes.

One thing has become clear about the MIF molecule: It needs a network. To act as a pro-inflammatory soldier, it relies on other substances to help. “MIF on its own is not toxic,” Dr. Al-Abed said. They are now trying to figure out what substances MIF partners with to do its dirty work.

Margot Puerta | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.molmed.org
http://www.FeinsteinInstitute.org

Further reports about: Al-Abed Diabetes MIF Sepsis conceiving infertility inflammatory

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>