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Study suggests new strategy to prevent infertility, birth defects
Date:7/7/2011

Again, the age-associated changes seen in the free-fed mice aggregation of mitochondria into clumps and a drop in levels of ATP, the metabolic fuel produced by mitochondria were not seen in egg cells from the aged CR females.

While the mechanisms by which caloric restriction produces its effects are still being investigated, several of the metabolic pathways involve a regulator of DNA transcription called PGC-1α, which is known to modulate genes involved in controlling mitochondrial number and function. Tilly's team also found that egg cells from female mice lacking a functional PGC-1α gene who were allowed to free feed through adulthood maintained the same egg-cell quality as seen in the CR mice. However, combining CR with PGC-1α inactivation did not increase the effects beyond those achieved separately, which suggests that the two approaches work in a common pathway..

"While most of the work in the field of caloric restriction has been done in mice and other laboratory animals, over the past few years a number of studies have shown that several of the health benefits reported in aging mice are also seen in monkeys and perhaps in human populations that have chosen to limit their caloric intake," says Tilly, who is a professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School.

"If we find a way to safely reproduce in humans the effects we see in this study and even though this is a mouse study, we know these age-related egg cell defects are also seen in humans we may be able both to improve a woman's chance of getting pregnant and, for those who do need assisted reproductive technology, to improve the quality of the eggs we use to minimize if not eliminate the age-related increase in Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders," he adds.


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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