Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cow Infections Could Provide Clue To Preventing Infertility In Women

Date:
October 29, 2007
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
Researchers have made a significant breakthrough in their understanding of how infection of the uterus damages fertility in cows. Their findings, which show that common uterine infections can damage the ovaries, may provide insights into how to treat infections such as chlamydia in humans.

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College, London, have made a significant breakthrough in their understanding of how infection of the uterus damages fertility in cows. Their findings, which show that common uterine infections can damage the ovaries, may provide insights into how to treat infections such as Chlamydia in humans.

Related Articles


Researchers led by Professor Martin Sheldon studied the effect that uterine disease has on the reproductive system in cows. Their findings, published in the journal Reproduction, suggest that the cow's innate immune system may affect key stages in the reproductive cycle, including suppressing the release of the female sex hormone oestrogen and causing failure to ovulate.

Approximately a million dairy cows get uterine disease each year in the UK, affecting not only milk production but also the cow's ability to reproduce. Cows already have an unusually low chance of conceiving -- a 30% chance compared to over 60% in sheep -- so if their fertility falls further and they are unable to conceive, they become uneconomical to keep and may be culled.

In cows, uterine disease is usually caused by bacteria entering the uterus after the cow has given birth. The same route of infection can also occur in women; however, humans may also be affected by sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydia. Although the infections are usually successfully treated with antibiotics, the infertility often persists.

Using the bacterium E. coli, Professor Sheldon and colleagues examined the effect that bacteria have on the granulosa cells that line each egg-containing follicle in the ovary. These granulosa cells nurture the egg until the follicle bursts to release the egg, and they make oestradiol (a form of the sex hormone oestrogen), which encourages the female to copulate. The researchers found that even after treatment of uterine disease, the follicle still contains toxin left over from the breakdown of the pathogen.

The researchers also found that granulosa cells, which protect the egg inside the follicle, play a part in the immune response to infection by recognising that the toxin has entered the follicle and inhibiting production of oestradiol.

"We believe that granulosa cells may play a role in 'quality control' relating to ovulation," says Professor Sheldon. "Infection can potentially damage the genetic make-up of an egg, and these 'errors' would be passed down from generation to generation. By suppressing the release of oestrogen -- in effect, reducing sexual behaviour -- the granulosa are preventing those defects being passed on."

Professor Sheldon believes that these findings open up a new, previously overlooked, avenue for treating uterine disease in cows.

"The emphasis on treating uterine disease has so far always been on clearing infection in the uterus," he says. "We need to remember that the infection also affects the ovaries and may cause lasting damage. We may need to treat the disease with anti-inflammatory drugs or develop new anti-toxins."

The findings mirror those from research previously carried out in mice, suggesting that granulosa may be a part of the innate immune system in other mammals, possibly including humans.

"It appears that bacteria have a lasting effect on fertility in cattle and possibly humans," says Professor Sheldon. "Our research suggests a mechanism for how this may occur and offers hope for developing new treatments to prevent this from happening."

This research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Cow Infections Could Provide Clue To Preventing Infertility In Women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071025195520.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2007, October 29). Cow Infections Could Provide Clue To Preventing Infertility In Women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071025195520.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Cow Infections Could Provide Clue To Preventing Infertility In Women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071025195520.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins