Enzyme trips fertility, triggers miscarriageOctober 17th, 2011 - 12:12 pm ICT by IANS
London, Oct 17 (IANS) An enzyme that acts as a fertility switch could trip conception in women or cause a miscarriage depending on its high or low levels.
The findings could potentially open the way to newer treatments for these conditions and lead to better contraceptives.
One in 100 women trying to conceive experience recurrent miscarriages, defined as the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies.
Researchers from Imperial College London looked at tissue samples from the womb lining,
donated by 106 women being treated for unexplained infertility or for recurrent miscarriages, the journal Nature Medicine reports.
The women with unexplained infertility had been trying to conceive for two years or more
and the most common reasons for infertility had been ruled out, according to an Imperial College statement.
Researchers discovered that the womb lining in these women had high levels of the enzyme SGK1. Conversely, the women suffering from recurrent pregnancy loss had low levels of SGK1.
“I can envisage that in the future, we might treat the womb lining by flushing it with drugs that block SGK1 before women undergo IVF,” said Jan Brosens, professor who led the study at the Imperial College Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology.
“Another potential application is that increasing SGK1 levels might be used as a new method of contraception,” added Brosens.
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Tags: 100 women, contraception, contraceptives, developmental biology, drugs, fertility, imperial college london, infertility, journal nature medicine, medicine, method of contraception, recurrent miscarriages, recurrent pregnancy loss, tissue samples, unexplained infertility, womb