Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine have developed a plan for a protein that plays an important role in the development and regulation of reproductive organs.
The knowledge advances our understanding of the anti-Müllerian protein hormone (AMH), which helps form male reproductive organs and, in women, regulates follicle development and ovulation in the ovaries, explains Thomas Thompson, Ph.D. .D., Professor in the UC Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology.
Scientists have been looking to regulate AMH because it could play a role in the development of a new contraceptive, aid in treatments for infertility, and be helpful in protecting the future fertility of women undergoing chemotherapy.
“AMH is unique in that it has a dedicated receiver,” Thompson says. “This signaling module has a one-to-one relationship with a signaling receptor. What we have done in the study is to define the appearance and interaction of these two. This helps us try to understand how we can modulate therapeutically. signaling molecule or pair of signaling receptors “.
“When you introduce AMH signaling, you can prevent ovarian follicles from developing very early in eggs in the ovaries,” says Thompson. “That’s the angle at which this potential contraceptive is held. If you can improve AMH signaling, you can prevent the follicles from being selected for growth.”
Researchers are also taking this into account in female cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
“Chemotherapy can damage the follicles and cause less fertility over time,” Thompson explains. “If you can slow down the reproductive process, you can actually protect the ovary and possibly maintain the ability to have children after chemotherapy.”
The results of the research by Thompson and lead author Kaitlin Hart, a doctoral student in the UC Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology, are available online in the academic journal for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Thompson and Hart worked closely with researchers at Harvard Medical School, including Nicholas Nagykery, Patricia Donahoe, MD, and David Pépin, Ph.D., who have tested AMH in animal models. Other collaborators at Monash University in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, include William Stocker, Ph.D., Kelly Walton, Ph.D., and Craig Harrison, Ph.D.
“Preserving the fertility of women undergoing chemotherapy by protecting the follicles will have a major impact on the quality of life of women of reproductive age,” says Hart of UC. “This becomes more important as more women have children at a later age and more cancer incidents occur in younger individuals.”
Hart says a better understanding of how AMH interacts with its signaling receptor may also help scientists find better treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that leads to irregular menstrual periods. excessive production of male hormones such as androgen and inhibition of ovulation in women of reproductive age.
The causes of PCOS are unknown, but it can also cause type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is one of the most common causes of female infertility affecting up to 12% of women of reproductive age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There is no cure for PCOS and treatment options are extremely limited due to a lack of understanding of the disease,” Hart says. “A group of researchers in France investigating AMH believe it is related to PCOS and possibly too much AMH leading to infertility.”
Benefits of animal health research?
Animal welfare can also receive a boost with the development of a contraceptive that uses AMH.
The knowledge that UC researchers have advanced will benefit a project led by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to reduce the wild cat population. Cincinnati Zoo officials work closely with the same Harvard Medical School researchers who are collaborating on Thompson’s lab research.
“They are developing AMH as a temporary non-surgical sterilization option,” Hart explains. “Instead of capturing cats for spaying, spaying and releasing them, you could administer AMH-based therapy that could achieve the same result with a single injection. We now understand the interaction between AMH and its receiver to be able to contemplate changes aimed at interfaces to increase this interaction and make AMH more powerful. ”
Kaitlin N. Hart et al, The structure of AMHR2-linked AMH provides information on a unique signaling pair of the TGF-β family, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2104809118
University of Cincinnati
Citation: The plan for a reproductive hormone can help infertility (2021, June 22) recovered on June 22, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-blueprint-reproductive-hormone-aid- infertility.html
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