Discovery Could Lead to Improved Diagnosis and Treatment for Infertility in Women - European Medical Journal

Discovery Could Lead to Improved Diagnosis and Treatment for Infertility in Women

2 Mins
Reproductive Health

FERTILITY in women is affected by the essential role played in the process by a naturally occurring hormone, according to researchers from the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. The discovery could form the basis for improved diagnosis and treatment for infertility in the future.

The team found that an insulin-like peptide hormone, called INSL3, that is made within the ovary, is instrumental in managing the growth and development of ovarian follicles and the eggs contained within them. Created in small quantities in the ovaries of women of reproductive age, theca cell INSL3 is fundamentally important in enabling the follicles containing the egg cells to make and regulate steroid hormones, especially androgens. These androgens act like an oestrogen within the ovary with the pituitary hormones to promote the healthy growth and development of follicles by creating a feedforward loop effect.

Infertility Diagnosis and Treatment
The study shows that INSL3 is just as important as ovarian steroid hormones in regulating a woman’s fertility, a finding that could enhance the diagnosis and lead to better treatment options for infertility. Prof Ravinder Anand-Ivell, University of Nottingham, commented: “Having a more in depth understanding of female fertility will pave the way for better treatment and diagnosis of infertility and we have had feedback from clinicians who are very excited about what this research represents in terms of the future of fertility treatment. For example, this new evidence suggests that INSL3 could be involved in the hormone imbalance associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which affects a very large number of women of reproductive age.”

Breeding in Livestock
Ovarian tissue was used from cows as this is one of the best model systems to study human female infertility, and is relevant to pregnancy in all mammals. The discovery could therefore also help prevent breeding problems in livestock, which has major economic implications. “By targeting newer hormone systems like INSL3 we may be better and more specifically able to address the special mammalian aspects of reproductive physiology,” added Prof Anand-Ivell.

James Coker, Senior Editorial Assistant

For the source, and further information about the study, click here.

Join our mailing list

To receive the EMJ updates straight to your inbox free of charge, please click the button below.
Join Now