Strategy could combat age-related fertility issues

8th July 2011

A research team at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that restricting calorific intake can help tackle age-related fertility issues.

The study, which is detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, highlighted that the strategy prevented declining egg quality in older female mice.

"We also identified a gene that can be manipulated to reproduce the effects of dietary caloric restriction and improve egg quality in aging animals fed a normal diet, which gives us clues that we may be able to alter this highly regulated process with compounds now being developed to mimic the effects of caloric restriction," commented Dr Jonathan Tilly, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology in the MGH Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study built upon previous research which found that if animals' food intake is restricted, but not lowered to the point of malnutrition, they can live longer and show fewer signs of ageing.

It now remains to be seen if the effects of the study can be replicated in humans.

Around one in seven couples struggle to conceive due to fertility issues.

Posted by Philip Briggs

K. Selesniemi, H.-J. Lee, A. Muhlhauser, J. L. Tilly.Prevention of maternal aging-associated oocyte aneuploidy and meiotic spindle defects in mice by dietary and genetic strategies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011

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