In detail

Infertility caused by a gene

Infertility caused by a gene



Researchers at the Umea University in Sweden have discovered a mechanism that determines the early onset of menopause, which causes infertility problems.

The gene known as PTEN, which is known to be responsible for the galloping growth of tumors, seems to be responsible for preventing ovulation.
The researchers performed a series of laboratory tests on guinea pigs. When the PTEN gene, which was also found in guinea pigs, was eliminated, the guinea pigs remained without ovule reserves, even during the period when they were mature.
If applied to humans, this discovery may lead to improved treatments to combat infertility. About this discovery, the specialists say that it has great clinical, practical but also psychological importance.
The ovaries consist of follicles, and each follicle contains oocytes (the cells that ultimately produce the eggs). Over time, most follicles remain unproductive, acting as a support point for immature oocytes.
However, some of these non-productive follicles slowly begin their activity when they are available for immediate release and possibly for fertilization. Menopause occurs when there are no follicles and therefore no oocytes.
In this study, the researchers removed the PTEN gene from guinea pigs and found that they could only reproduce once, after which premature menopause was installed.
The same genetic variation may be responsible for premature installation in women, and the possibility of manipulating this gene may improve fertility treatment methods.
Gabriela Hotareanu
Editor
February 1, 2008