Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immune cells essential to establishing pregnancy

Date:
July 8, 2013
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
New research shows for the first time that immune cells known as macrophages are critical to fertility by creating a healthy hormone environment in the uterus.

New research from the University of Adelaide shows for the first time that immune cells known as macrophages are critical to fertility by creating a healthy hormone environment in the uterus.

Laboratory studies led by researchers in the University's Robinson Institute have shown that macrophages play an essential role in production of the hormone progesterone, which is crucial for embryo implantation and the initiation of pregnancy.

Results of the study, which will be published online today by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to new insights into how to treat infertility in women.

"Previous research has demonstrated that macrophages are prevalent in reproductive tissues, but this is the first time that their absolute necessity for pregnancy has been demonstrated," says the leader of the project team, Professor Sarah Robertson, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and member of the University's Robinson Institute.

"Macrophages organize the development of blood vessel networks in the ovary required for production of progesterone, which is the major hormone for initiating pregnancy."

The researchers have found that insufficient numbers of macrophages leads to reduced production of progesterone, which results in embryos implanting poorly or not at all, and can manifest later as miscarriage.

"The contribution of macrophages to the healthy vascular structure of the corpus luteum, which must develop rapidly in a matter of days to produce high levels of progesterone, was a surprise," Professor Robertson says.

"This is the first time that we have understood how pivotal macrophages are for conception and establishing pregnancy.

"Environmental factors such as infection, obesity and stress all contribute to inflammatory responses and affect the generation and function of macrophages in women. This could therefore impact on the macrophages' ability to support pregnancy," she says.

However, the laboratory studies showed that treatment with progesterone could reverse the effects caused by reduced levels of macrophages.

"Insufficient progesterone is one reason for infertility in some women," Professor Robertson says. "Infertile women are now routinely provided with progesterone supplements as part of their assisted reproductive treatments, and this is also a promising therapy for recurring miscarriage."

But ultimately the researchers hope to improve fertility by more natural means. "If macrophages are shown to play the same role in women as we've seen in our laboratory studies, this gives us potential new avenues for targeting them with lifestyle and nutritional intervention, improving fertility by advancing the quality of the conception environment."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Alison S. Care, Kerrilyn R. Diener, Melinda J. Jasper, Hannah M. Brown, Wendy V. Ingman, Sarah A. Robertson. Macrophages regulate corpus luteum development during embryo implantation in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2013; DOI: 10.1172/JCI60561

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Immune cells essential to establishing pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708142949.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2013, July 8). Immune cells essential to establishing pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708142949.htm
University of Adelaide. "Immune cells essential to establishing pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708142949.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 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