Liver protein vital in pregnancy

2 July 2013

A protein which is known to function in the liver is also important in pregnancy and menstruation, a study has found.

Research from the University of Montreal found that mice who were unable to produce the liver receptor homolog-1 (Lrh-1) could not create the right conditions in the womb to sustain a pregnancy.

The scientists then showed that the same molecule is also in the human womb and plays an important part in early stages of pregnancy. It is already known to play a role in ovulation.

Bruce Murphy, of the university’s Animal Reproduction Research Centre, said that it is too early to tell tell whether Lrh-1 levels could be used to diagnose fertility problems, but that the team are working on ways of tracking levels of the protein across the menstrual cycle.

In addition, the research team looked at whether hormone replacement therapy could be used as a form of infertility treatment for the mice. While hormones like progesterone did not work, Dr Murphy said that new agents which react with Lrh-1 and are currently in clinical trials might provide a solution.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

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