Discovery in Mice May Help With Treatment of Infertility in Women
Research from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggests that women who lack a particular gene may need to seek alternative forms of fertility treatment if they want to have children.
Thornton: A recent study at the National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences NIEHS suggests that women who lack the gene known as "estrogen receptor beta" may need to seek alternative forms of fertility treatment if they desire to have children. NIEHS researchers found that mice lacking this receptor are less likely to get pregnant. Dr. John Couse, the study's lead author, explains.
Couse: What we found in the mice that lack the estrogen receptor beta is that they do not get pregnant as often as we would expect and when they do get pregnant the number of offspring that they have, usually mice will have anywhere from six to eight offspring in one pregenacy, these mice the ones that lack estrogen receptor beta will usually have maybe three if they get pregnant at all. The later study that just came out was focused on trying to see if we could rescue or improve that animal's fertility by giving them the same fertility drugs that we routinely use in women seeking fertility treatment. And what we found is that the mice do not respond to those same drugs.
Thornton: The study showed that estrogen receptor beta plays a crucial role by moving the egg outside of the ovary so it can be fertilized. If the results of this study turn out to be applicable to humans, a simple blood test could provide enough information to determine if a woman's inability to conceive is a result of genetic mutation. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Matt Thornton reporting from Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Matt Thornton
Sound Bite: Dr. John Couse