Navigation Links
Male sex hormones in ovaries essential for female fertility

Male sex hormones, such as testosterone, have well defined roles in male reproduction and prostate cancer. What may surprise many is that they also play an important role in female fertility. A new study finds that the presence and activity of male sex hormones in the ovaries helps regulate female fertility, likely by controlling follicle growth and development and preventing deterioration of follicles that contain growing eggs.

This study and others highlight the fact that women need certain levels of male hormones, or androgens, in their bodies to function normally. The current study, published today in the journal Molecular Endocrinology, points to irregular androgen levels in the ovaries of female mice as a major cause of infertility. Understanding how male hormones influence ovulation in mice may provide clues as to how to better regulate androgens and combat infertility in humans.

"The need for certain levels of male hormones in the female body and the strong influence these hormones have is often underappreciated," said Stephen Hammes, M.D., Ph.D., Louis S. Wolk Distinguished Professorship in Medicine (Endocrinology and Metabolism) at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a lead author of the study. "Our findings open up a new line of research into how we can regulate male sex hormones, specifically in the ovaries, to improve fertility."

These findings are relevant to women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition characterized by androgen excess. PCOS is marked by the overproduction of male hormones and causes ovarian changes that prohibit regular ovulation, often contributing to infertility. Hammes, chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Rochester, believes that better understanding the overall effects of androgen levels in the ovary may help researchers determine how to target and control the increased levels that lead to fertility problems in women with PCOS.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the No. 1 cause of infertility in women. The condition affects 5 percent to 10 percent of women of childbearing age and is nearly as common as (and often associated with) Type 2 diabetes. Overall, more than 6.1 million women in the United States ages 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The current research builds on past studies, some of which were performed in the laboratory of Chawnshang Chang, Ph.D., at the University of Rochester, which have shown that completely eliminating male hormone receptors, or androgen receptors, in female mice leads to abnormal ovarian function and reduced fertility. To help determine which reproductive tissues, including the hypothalamus, pituitary, and many cells within the ovary, regulate fertility, authors of the current study removed androgen receptors from only ovarian cells, known as granulosa cells, in female mice. Androgen receptors in all other reproductive tissues, including the hypothalamus, pituitary, and other ovarian cells were left intact.

Female mice without androgen receptors in the ovarian granulosa cells had premature ovarian failure, meaning they stopped ovulating too early, and were sub-fertile, meaning they had abnormal ovulation cycles, did not ovulate as many eggs as control mice, and had smaller litter sizes. These mice also had fewer follicles that completed development and were ready to ovulate; rather, many of their follicles did not progress beyond pre-development stages and died before ovulation could occur.

These results suggest that the presence of male hormones in ovarian granulosa cells in mice is critical for normal follicle development and fertility. When androgen receptor signaling is blocked or eliminated in ovarian granulosa cells, ovarian follicles cannot progress to later stages of development, ultimately resulting in reduced fertility.

"We found that fertility problems are most likely present because androgen signaling in the ovary is abnormal," said Aritro Sen, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Rochester Medical Center and a lead author of the study. "Previously, we assumed that androgen signaling in the brain the hypothalamus and the pituitary was at the root of the problem, but we found that is not the case."


Contact: Emily Butler
University of Rochester Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. Novel soy germ-based dietary supplement, SE5-OH containing natural S-Equol, examined for safety and influence on hormones in pre- and post-menopausal women
2. Demonstrated in vivo the transfer of maternal thyroid hormones to the fetus
3. Anti-aging hormones: Little or no benefit and the risks are high
4. Hormones Tied to Diabetes Might Also Influence Fertility
5. New study questions benefits of elective removal of ovaries during hysterectomy
6. MAP International Provides $10 Million in Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies to Haiti Relief
7. Brain Thermostat May Suppress Non-Essential Information
8. Wiley-Blackwell launches new online medical reference tool -- Essential Evidence
9. Bishops Call Senate Health Care Reform Bill Deficient, Essential Changes Needed Before Moving Forward
10. New Allergy Testing Available for Patients Allergic to Penicillin: Determining the Presence of Penicillin Allergy is Essential to Patient Care
11. Sleep Well, Stay Healthy: Good Quality and Restorative Sleep Are Essential for Better Mental and Physical Health
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... four states in the U.S. require dental technicians to be certified or obtain ... industry, NADL created the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign to inform dentists that ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... MN (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... at . The directory is specialized and only includes chiropractic clinics ... to find a competent and trustworthy alternative health practitioner when back pain sets ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... experience this summer, ushering in a new era of publicly accessible automated technology. ... shuttle, will continue to offer guests an up-close look at the shuttle at ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... and fun atmosphere for Halloween festivities, the Word of Life Christian Church of ... board game, and featuring a giant 1.25 ton pile of candy dubbed “Candy ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... community across the United States to access life-saving information provided directly ... Mesothelioma will consist of three individual conferences in three major cities: Houston, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Die MEDTEC Japan 2016, ... Entwicklung und Herstellung medizinischer Geräte, findet ... in Tokyo ... Foto: ... --> ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... SINGAPORE , Nov. 30, 2015  QT Vascular ... Vascular", and together with its subsidiaries, TriReme Medical LLC ... global company engaged in the design, assembly and distribution ... of vascular disease, is pleased to announce that a ... Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ("Federal ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... the Detroit Free Press as a Top Workplace , ... to work for in 2015. ... 100 winners annually, based on employee surveys rating company leadership, ... Workplaces are based solely on employee feedback. The survey is ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: