Fertility and weight relationship investigated

by Melissa Coci
Fertility and weight relationship investigated
Neuropeptide receptors in the brain. Credit: MRC Toxicology Unit, Wellcome Images

A peptide that controls appetite and metabolism is at the centre of research which aims to give insight into how peptides affect fertility.

Scientists at the University of Western Australia have in their latest research focused on the affect of peptide on the body's in particular on the neuropeptide kisspeptin.

Ghrelin is responsible for neuronal control of appetite and metabolism and also affects fertility.

This makes the peptide of particular interest in helping people who are overweight or obese to conceive according to Dr Jeremy Smith from UWA's School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology.

"The premise behind the [study] is… ," Dr Smith says.

"Food intake and energy expenditure has really profound effects on the reproductive system.

"And so, the study is trying to really pinpoint the link in the brain in which energy balance governs reproduction."

The research on mice showed ghrelin regulates the reproductive axis via an indirect mechanism, not by directly stimulating the release of kisspeptin.

"The study pretty much opened up more questions than it solved," he says.

"The aim was to show ghrelin interacts directly with kisspeptin and we basically showed it did not show that.

"So we still don't know the exact neuronal afferences that are important for relaying the effect of ghrelin on fertility."

Kisspeptin is the peptide of interest for Dr Smith and his team's next studies.

"What's interesting now is what we're finding is … people who are overweight or obese also have difficulty with fertility and again this is also related to kisspeptin neurons in the brain," he says.

"The flipside of this could be utilising kisspeptin as a therapeutic for , specifically in infertility possibly related to a person being overweight."

Dr Smith is now focusing on the potential direct effects of NPY and POMC neurons on kisspeptin.

"We're just getting some data now which is looking really promising to show that as well as regulating fertility [NPY and POMC] themselves may also regulate energy balance," he says.

"They could be a real key mediator of both of those pathways [fertility and energy balance] and really form the link in the brain which governs the … relationship between energy balance and reproduction."

More information: www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S0196978113002295

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Infertility: How can the ovulation function be restored?

Oct 17, 2012

One of the most frequent is the existence of tumours that induce an over-secretion of this hormone. These women present with chronic infertility due to anovulation. Thanks to the work of the Inserm researchers from unit 693 ...

Naturally occurring hormone induces egg maturation

Jun 17, 2013

The naturally occurring hormone kisspeptin effectively induces egg maturation during infertility treatment, according to a clinical in vitro fertilization (IVF) study. The results were presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's ...

Hormone offers promise as fertility treatment

Mar 16, 2009

New research suggests the hormone kisspeptin shows promise as a potential new treatment for infertility. The research is being presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology BES meeting in Harrogate. Scientists led by ...

Recommended for you

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

18 hours ago

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

22 hours ago

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments