Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identification of gene variants affecting fertility offers new treatment possibility

Date:
April 29, 2013
Source:
European Society of Endocrinology
Summary:
Identification of genetic variations in the genes coding for the hormone FSH may provide new treatments for male and female infertility, according to new work. Scientists have characterized gene variations which may improve treatment for almost half of infertile men, as well as allowing tailored treatment for women undergoing assisted reproduction.

Identification of genetic variations in the genes coding for the hormone FSH may provide new treatments for male and female infertility, according to work presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Copenhagen. A group of researchers at the University of Muenster has characterised gene variations which may improve treatment for almost half of infertile men, as well as allowing tailored treatment for women undergoing assisted reproduction.

Properly functioning FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) is needed to ensure fertility. FSH is produced by the pituitary gland (at the base of the brain) in both men and women. It is essential for normal functioning of the reproductive system. In adult males, FSH is crucial to maintain normal sperm production. In adult women, FSH regulates egg maturation and oestrogen synthesis by the ovaries.

Pituitary-produced FSH binds to specific receptors which are found on the surface of cells in the ovary, testes, and uterus. For the hormone to have its effect, both the hormone and the receptor must function properly. Recently, the group of researchers at the University of Muenster (Germany) has analysed genetic variants in both the FSH gene and in the FSH receptor, which affect fertility in both males and females.

The group found that a distinct single nucleotide change in the DNA structure of FSHB gene (the FSH molecule has 2 subunits -- FSHB is the B subunit) caused significant effects in the functioning of the hormone in both men and women. A single change in the DNA of the FSH receptor (FSHR) also caused changes in fertility. They have also found that if a man has both the FSHB and FSH unfavourable genetic variation, then his fertility levels can drop dramatically.

Professor Joerg Gromoll's group looked at hormone levels in 1213 males and 365 women who had been attending the Muenster fertility clinic, and associated these with the genetic variations in the FSH hormone and receptor. They found that males with the FSHB variation had significant drops in FSH levels and in testicular volume. If a man had both polymorphisms in FSHB and FSHR (gene variations) then this effect was even more pronounced and a drop of 34% in sperm count could be detected..

In contrast, they found that FSH levels in women with the polymorphisms were increased, while progesterone levels were lowered. However, the number of women with the combined variation so far studied was not high enough to draw significant conclusions.

Professor Gromoll, of the Centre of Reproductive Medicine and Andrology, University of Muenster, presented the complete results to the European Congress of Endocrinology in Copenhagen. He said:

"These genetic variations turned out to have significant effects on male and female reproductive endocrinology, and hence on male and female fertility. Where a man has the variants in both the hormone and its receptor, the drop in fertility is very significant. We estimate that around 45% of infertile men would respond to FSH therapy, and this work may enable us to identify exactly who will benefit, and to what extent. In the same way, knowing which women carry the variants may enable them to receive tailored ovarian stimulation in the future.

"We are now working to identify infertile patients suitable for FSH treatment to induce fertility."

Note: The changes were single nucleotide polymorphisms. The FSHB gene at position 211 normally has a G nucleotide -- in this variation this was changed to a T: so the designation for this variation is FSHB-211 G>T. With the gene for the receptor, the change was from A to G at position 2039, designated FSHR 2039A>G.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

European Society of Endocrinology. "Identification of gene variants affecting fertility offers new treatment possibility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429210854.htm>.
European Society of Endocrinology. (2013, April 29). Identification of gene variants affecting fertility offers new treatment possibility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429210854.htm
European Society of Endocrinology. "Identification of gene variants affecting fertility offers new treatment possibility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429210854.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
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