Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Liver, dietary proteins key in fertility

Date:
February 1, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
When you think about organs with an important role in reproduction, the liver most likely doesn't spring to mind. But a new report shows that estrogen receptors in the liver are critical for maintaining fertility. What's more, the expression of those receptors is under the control of dietary amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The findings in mice may have important implications for some forms of infertility and for metabolic changes that come with menopause.

When you think about organs with an important role in reproduction, the liver most likely doesn't spring to mind. But a new report in the February issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, shows that estrogen receptors in the liver are critical for maintaining fertility. What's more, the expression of those receptors is under the control of dietary amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

The findings in mice may have important implications for some forms of infertility and for metabolic changes that come with menopause, the researchers say.

"This is the first time it has been demonstrated how important the liver is in fertility," said Adriana Maggi of The University of Milan in Italy. "The idea that diet may have an impact on fertility isn't totally new of course, but this explains how diet, and especially a diet poor in protein, can have a direct influence."

Scientists had known that the liver expressed estrogen receptors and that those receptors played some role in metabolism. But, Maggi says, those receptors had not garnered a lot of attention.

Her group got interested in the liver receptors quite by accident. In studies of mice, "we saw that the organ that always had the highest activation of estrogen receptor was the liver," she said. Initially they thought it must be a mistake and disregarded it, but over time they began to think maybe the mice were telling them something.

They now report that the expression of those estrogen receptors depends on dietary amino acids. Mice on a calorie-restricted diet and those lacking estrogen receptors in their livers showed a decline in an important hormone known as IGF-1. Blood levels of the hormone dropped to levels inadequate for the correct growth of the lining of their uteruses and normal progression of the estrous cycle, they show.

When the calorie-restricted mice were given more protein, their reproductive cycles got back on track. Dietary fats and carbohydrates, on the other hand, had no effect on the estrogen receptors or fertility.

The researchers suggest that this connection between amino acids, estrogen receptor signaling in liver, and reproductive functions may have clinical implications. For instance, Maggi said, this may explain why people who are anorexic are generally infertile. It suggests that diets loaded with too many carbohydrates and too little protein may hamper fertility.

The results also provide new clues for understanding the increased risk of metabolic and inflammatory disease in menopausal women. Maggi says that those changes may be explained in part by the lack of estrogen action in their livers and its downstream consequences.

Today, given concerns about hormone replacement therapy, menopausal women are often treated with drugs that target one organ or another to protect against specific conditions, such as atherosclerosis or osteoporosis. Given the liver's role as a central coordinator of metabolism and producer of many other important hormones, she says, drugs that "target only the liver may solve all the problems."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara Della Torre, Gianpaolo Rando, Clara Meda, Alessia Stell, Pierre Chambon, Andrιe Krust, Cristian Ibarra, Paolo Magni, Paolo Ciana, Adriana Maggi. Amino Acid-Dependent Activation of Liver Estrogen Receptor Alpha Integrates Metabolic and Reproductive Functions via IGF-1. Cell Metabolism, 2011; 13 (2): 205-214 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.01.002

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Liver, dietary proteins key in fertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122223.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, February 1). Liver, dietary proteins key in fertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122223.htm
Cell Press. "Liver, dietary proteins key in fertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122223.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) — The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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