Amniotic sac membrane could be source for human eggs

January 11, 2013 by Kevin Hattori

Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology say cells from the amniotic membrane part of the placenta normally discarded after a woman gives birth could one day be a source for human eggs. The first-of-its-kind discovery was published online last month in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology (2012, 10:108).

cells – originated about eight days after conception – preserve the plasticity of an embryo's cells before they differentiate. The Technion researchers found these cells also have the ability to differentiate into ones that express the properties of the germ cells that produce ova. (Germ cells are that give rise to the cells that fuse with another during conception.)

"Germ cell development has been difficult to study in humans because important early events occur after implantation," said Prof. Shalev, who added that the study of germ cell development in humans is especially challenging because ethical issues can be involved.

What is known is that these remain undifferentiated until a female reaches sexual development (i.e. starts menstruating). In order to turn into ova, the cells need the proteins or hormones that surround the ovary in adolescent girls.

The researchers are now at work to replicate the conditions present in adolescents. Their goal will be to produce by adding proteins or hormones to the differentiated amniotic cells.

"It is too early to know when this will be achieved, but we have discovered the principle," said Prof. Shalev.

"When it is done successfully, women who do not produce healthy ova – or any at all – could use them to become pregnant," he continued. "These ova would be probably be used mostly for women who have entered ."

Related Stories

Surgeons recreate eggs in vitro to treat infertility

October 2, 2012

Regenerative-medicine researchers have moved a promising step closer to helping infertile, premenopausal women produce enough eggs to become pregnant. Today, surgeons at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for ...

Recommended for you

A cheaper, high-performance prosthetic knee

July 30, 2015

In the last two decades, prosthetic limb technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, the most advanced prostheses incorporate microprocessors that work with onboard gyroscopes, accelerometers, and hydraulics to enable ...

Crystal clear images uncover secrets of hormone receptors

July 31, 2015

Many hormones and neurotransmitters work by binding to receptors on a cell's exterior surface. This activates receptors causing them to twist, turn and spark chemical reactions inside cells. NIH scientists used atomic level ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.