Navigation Links
U of I study: Lack of omega-3 fatty acid linked to male infertility
Date:4/12/2010

URBANA According to a University of Illinois study, omega-3 fatty acids may be good for more than heart health. A little-known omega-3 may have implications for treating male infertility.

"In our experiment, we used 'knockout' mice that lacked the gene responsible for an enzyme important in making docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In the absence of DHA, male mice are basically infertile, producing few if any misshaped sperm that can't get where they need to go," said Manabu Nakamura, a U of I associate professor of food science and human nutrition.

"We looked at sperm count, shape, and motility and tested the breeding success rate, and the mice lacking DHA simply were not able to breed," said Manuel Roqueta-Rivera, a U of I doctoral student who also worked on the study.

In the DHA-deficient knockout mice, sperm counts were extremely low. The sperm that were produced were round instead of elongated and they were unable to move well, he said.

But, when DHA was introduced into the diet, fertility was completely restored. "It was very striking. When we fed the mice DHA, all these abnormalities were prevented," he said.

This is the first time that the importance of DHA to male fertility has been shown this directly, although some studies have suggested that male fertility patients with low sperm counts and less motile sperm tend to have low levels of this fatty acid.

The DHA study is part of the Nakamura team's efforts to understand the function of the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. As part of that work, they have developed a mouse model to help them understand a particular fat's physiological role. By knocking out genes, they can create deficiencies of the fats they are interested in and learn about their functions.

"Knocking out the gene for the delta-6-desaturase enzyme has led to some surprising discoveries, including this one about the importance of DHA in sperm formation and mobility," he said.

Nakamura said our body must make DHA from dietary alpha-linolenic acids, the parent compound of the omega-3 fatty acid family. Vegetable oils, including soybean and canola oil, are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid.

Nakamura's team plans to continue focusing on this omega-3's effects on fertility. But he cautioned that there are still things they don't understand.

"We get hints from looking at sperm in the DHA-deficient animals about what type of pathology we may be looking at and why these polyunsaturated fatty acids are important. But we're still at the starting point in understanding the mechanisms that are involved, and we need to do more research at the cellular level," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. U of I study: Lack of omega-6 fatty acid linked to severe dermatitis
2. Study: Low levels of vitamin D linked to higher rates of asthma in African-American kids
3. Study: Grass, fungus combination affects ecology
4. Study: Climate change one factor in malaria spread
5. Study: Gene therapy reverses effects of lethal childhood muscle disorder in mice
6. Study: Crickets forewarn unborn babies about spiders
7. New UC Davis study: Climate tipping points may arrive without warning, says top forecaster
8. New study: Human running speeds of 35 to 40 mph may be biologically possible
9. Study: Sea stars bulk up to beat the heat
10. UF study: Exercise improves body image for fit and unfit alike
11. UNC study: Color-coded chart improves parents understanding of body mass index
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com ... Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... will focus on developing health and wellness apps that ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon for ... world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and health ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 ... Continue Reading ... ...      ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... , ... April 21, 2017 , ... Having worked on ... year, Formaspace is pleased to introduce it to top lab design architects from around ... Jeff Turk and VP of Industrial Design and Engineering Greg Casey will be at ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Frederick Innovative ... range of emerging technology-based businesses, recently earned a $77,518 grant from the Rural ... Founded in 2004, FITCI is Frederick’s first incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI is ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Husson ... clinical research community’s growing body of knowledge during its Eighth Annual Research ... and the adjacent Darling Atrium. During the event, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 ... ... announce the formation of a unique intellectual property (IP) sharing and commercialization model. ... their most promising inventions. A main component of this effort is bringing the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: