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Gene That Regulates And Blocks Ovulation Discovered

Date:
July 17, 2008
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
Researchers have unlocked the mystery of a gene with the potential to both regulate and block ovulation. The findings could lead to the development of pharmaceuticals that activate the Lrh1 gene, which may prove critical in giving infertile couples hope in producing children.

A group of Canadian and European researchers have unlocked the mystery of a gene with the potential to both regulate and block ovulation. The new study is a collaboration between the Université de Montréal in Canada and the Institut de génetique et biologie moléculaire et cellulaire of the Université de Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.

"Our findings demonstrate that the Lrh1 gene is essential in regulating ovulation," said Bruce D. Murphy, director the Animal Research Centre at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor of and obstetrics and gynaecology at the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal. "Until this point, the role of Lrh1 in female fertility was unclear, but we have found the gene regulates multiple mechanisms of ovulation and may affect fertilization."

To reach their conclusions, the research team developed a new type of genetically modified mouse whose Lrh1 gene was selectively blocked in the ovary. They found that deletion of the Lrh1 gene effectively stopped ovulation. "This discovery means we can envision new contraceptives that selectively stop ovulation," said Dr. Murphy. "If created, these new contraceptives would be more effective and produce less side-effects than current steroid-based forms of birth control."

What's more, the findings could lead to the development of pharmaceuticals that activate the Lrh1 gene, which may prove critical in giving infertile couples hope in producing children. "This is an important development, since 15 percent of couples are infertile," said Dr. Murphy. "The widespread role of this gene in the ovary indicates that it may be targeted to stimulate ovulation and, eventually, conception."

The research was supported by the CIHR in Canada; CNRS, INSERM and the Serono Foundation in Europe.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Rajesha Duggavathi, Bruce D. Murphy, , David H. Volle, Chikage Mataki, Maria C. Antal, Nadia Messaddeq, Johan Auwerx and Kristina Schoonjans. Lrh1 regulates ovulation and fertility. Genes & Development, (in press)

Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Gene That Regulates And Blocks Ovulation Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717111937.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2008, July 17). Gene That Regulates And Blocks Ovulation Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717111937.htm
University of Montreal. "Gene That Regulates And Blocks Ovulation Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717111937.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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