Gene that causes infertility `identified`
Washington: Scientists have identified a
gene which they claim causes infertility.
A team from Virginia Commonwealth University has found
the role of the gene, Smad-3, in regulating molecular signals
involved with ovarian follicle development, which may one day
help shed light on the causes of fertility issues in humans.
In the study, published in the latest edition of the
`Biology of Reproduction` journal, the scientists have used a
mouse model to examine the role of Smad-3 in the early stages
of follicular growth to understand the molecular mechanisms
that could influence fertility.
Specifically, they looked at the signalling pathways
involved in the follicles` response to follicle stimulating
hormone, or FSH -- one of the most important hormones involved
in fertility and is responsible for helping a woman`s body
develop a mature egg.
The team, led by Prof Elizabeth McGee, reported that
female mice missing the Smad-3 gene did not experience normal
ovulation and were infertile because there is a reduced
ability of the follicle to respond to FSH stimulation.
Further, the team concluded that Smad-3 regulates
follicle growth and an important family of proteins that are
essential for follicle development.
"Learning precisely how the FSH receptor is regulated
is an important step in understanding the subtle defects in
signal transduction that can interfere with follicle
development and female fertility and could lead to new types
of fertility treatments," McGee said.
First Published: Saturday, October 03, 2009, 00:00
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