Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New ways to protect female fertility

Date:
September 22, 2012
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
New research offers hope to women whose fertility has been compromised by the side-effects of cancer therapy or by premature menopause. In a new study, researchers found that two proteins, PUMA and NOXA, cause the death of egg cells in the ovaries. Blocking the activity of the proteins may lead to new strategies to protect women's fertility.

New research offers hope to women whose fertility has been compromised by the side-effects of cancer therapy or by premature menopause.

In a study published in Molecular Cell, researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), Monash University and Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research found that two proteins, PUMA and NOXA, cause the death of egg cells in the ovaries. Blocking the activity of the proteins may lead to new strategies to protect women's fertility.

The team, including Associate Professor Jeffrey Kerr from Monash, Associate Professor Clare Scott, Dr Ewa Michalak and Professor Andreas Strasser from WEHI and Dr Karla Hutt and Professor Jock Findlay from PHI, focused their studies on egg cells called primordial follicle oocytes, which provide each woman's lifetime supply of eggs. Low numbers of these egg cells can also cause early menopause.

Associate Professor Clare Scott, an oncologist at The Royal Melbourne and Royal Women's hospitals, said the research showed that when the DNA of egg cells is damaged following exposure to radiation or chemotherapy, PUMA and NOXA trigger the death of the damaged eggs, leading to infertility in many female cancer patients.

"PUMA and NOXA can trigger cell death, and have been found to be necessary for the death of many different cell types in response to DNA damage," Associate Professor Scott said.

"This removal of damaged cells is a natural process that is essential to maintaining health but, for women undergoing cancer treatment, can be devastating when it leads to infertility."

Associate Professor Kerr said that when these egg-producing cells were missing the PUMA protein they did not die after being exposed to radiation therapy.

"This might ordinarily be cause for concern because you want damaged egg cells to die so as not to produce abnormal offspring," he said.

"To our great surprise we found that not only did the cells survive being irradiated, they were able to repair the DNA damage they had sustained and could be ovulated and fertilised, producing healthy offspring. When the cells were also missing the NOXA protein, there was even better protection against radiation."

Future treatments could block the function of PUMA, preventing egg cell death in patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.

Professor Jock Findlay, head of the Female Reproductive Biology Group at PHI, said the study could also have implications for delaying menopause.

"We know that the timing of menopause is influenced by how many egg cells a female has," he said. "Interventions that slow the loss of egg cells from the ovaries could delay premature menopause, prolonging female fertility, such a treatment could have the potential to reduce menopause-associated health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease."

The research was supported by National Health and Medical Research Council, Cancer Council Victoria, the Victorian Cancer Agency, the US Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the US National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Victorian Government.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. JeffreyB. Kerr, KarlaJ. Hutt, EwaM. Michalak, Michele Cook, CassandraJ. Vandenberg, SengH. Liew, Philippe Bouillet, Alea Mills, ClareL. Scott, JockK. Findlay, Andreas Strasser. DNA Damage-Induced Primordial Follicle Oocyte Apoptosis and Loss of Fertility Require TAp63-Mediated Induction of Puma and Noxa. Molecular Cell, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.08.017

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "New ways to protect female fertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120922085847.htm>.
Monash University. (2012, September 22). New ways to protect female fertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120922085847.htm
Monash University. "New ways to protect female fertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120922085847.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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:

More Coverage


Cell Death Discovery Suggests New Ways to Protect Female Fertility

Sep. 22, 2012 Researchers have identified a new way of protecting female fertility, offering hope to women whose fertility may be compromised by the side-effects of cancer therapy or by premature ... read more
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