A newly discovered hormone makes ovaries grow

A newly discovered hormone produced by the eggs of human females may improve the effectiveness of current fertility treatments for women and possibly lead to entirely new treatments altogether. According to new research published in the June 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal, researchers from Stanford and Akira University in Japan identified a new hormone called "R-spondin2" that promotes follicle development and stimulates ovary growth.

"The finding of a new ovarian produced by the oocytes capable of stimulating ovarian follicle growth could lead to new infertility treatments," said Aaron J. W. Hsueh, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Division of Reproductive and in the Department of Obstetrics and Genecology at Stanford University Medical School in Stanford, California.

To make this discovery, Hsueh and colleagues analyzed all the proteins likely made by the eggs, and discovered a previously unknown hormone, called R-spondin2. The researchers then replicated this new hormone in test tubes and injected it into mice. The hormone stimulated growth of mouse ovarian cells, leading to the generation of mature eggs. These eggs were fertilized and led to successful pregnancies and the delivery of healthy pups. Then, human was grafted into mice, and this also grew after treatment with this newly identified ovarian hormone, suggesting that the hormone could work in humans. The researchers speculate that when used in conjunction with the traditional Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), this newly discovered ovarian hormone could lead to new infertility treatment options for those not responding well to FSH treatment alone.

"Infertility can be very frustrating for couples who have been trying to conceive for a very long time. The discovery of this new hormone is a potential game-changer in human ," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "but further research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety in humans."

More information: Yuan Cheng, Kazuhiro Kawamura, Seido Takae, Masashi Deguchi, Qing Yang, Calvin Kuo, and Aaron J. W. Hsueh. Oocyte-derived R-spondin2 promotes ovarian follicle development. FASEB J June 2013 27:2175-2184 ; doi:10.1096/fj.12-223412

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ECE: Gene variants linked to reduced male fertility

May 03, 2013

(HealthDay)—Particular gene variants of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and its receptor are associated with significantly reduced fertility in men, according to a study presented at the annual European ...

New weekly fertility injections work as well as daily

Jun 12, 2012

New long-lasting weekly injections of fertility hormones are as safe and effective as standard daily injections, according to Cochrane researchers. The researchers compared weekly and daily hormone injections in a Cochrane ...

Surgeons recreate eggs in vitro to treat infertility

Oct 02, 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 ...

Adults lack stem cells for making new eggs, research shows

Apr 29, 2013

Mammalian females ovulate periodically over their reproductive lifetimes, placing significant demands on their ovaries for egg production. Whether mammals generate new eggs in adulthood using stem cells has been a source ...

Researchers build functional ovarian tissue in lab

Mar 26, 2013

A proof-of-concept study suggests the possibility of engineering artificial ovaries in the lab to provide a more natural option for hormone replacement therapy for women. In Biomaterials, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medica ...

Recommended for you

Clues to curbing obesity found in neuronal 'sweet spot'

10 hours ago

Preventing weight gain, obesity, and ultimately diabetes could be as simple as keeping a nuclear receptor from being activated in a small part of the brain, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine ...

Small RNAs in blood may reveal heart injury

19 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Like clues to a crime, specific molecules in the body can hint at exposure to toxins, infectious agents or even trauma, and so help doctors determine whether and how to treat a patient. ...

User comments