Liver protein crucial for pregnancy: Mice study provides insight into mechanisms of human reproduction

June 30, 2013, University of Montreal

A protein first shown to function in the liver plays a crucial role in pregnancy in mice and has a key role in the human menstrual cycle, according to researchers at the University of Montreal.

Mice that were genetically engineered not to produce the liver receptor homolog-1 (Lrh-1) molecule were unable to create the uterine conditions necessary for establishing and sustaining pregnancy, resulting in the formation of defective placentas. The researchers then showed that Lhr-1 was present in the human uterus and the essential processes related to the success of early gestation.

"We previously showed that Lrh-1 is essential for ovulation. Our newest studies have revealed that it is plays an important role in the uterus, raising the possibility that Lrh-1 deficiency contributes to human gestational failure," explained lead author Bruce Murphy, of the university's Animal Reproduction Research Centre. "We worked with mice before looking at human tissues. I believe it premature to propose determination of Lrh-1 in uterine biopsies as a diagnostic tool, but we are working on determining the receptor's pattern of expression across the menstrual cycle."

The researchers also looked at whether might restore normal uterine functions in the mice. "Progesterone did not make a difference. Although hormone therapy allowed for the embryos to implant, we saw problems with the lining in the uterus, compromised formation of the placenta, fetal growth retardation and ," Murphy said. "However, there are new Lrh-1 agonists and antagonists, currently in clinical trials to treat hepatic consequences of type II diabetes, and thus might be possible."

The study was published in Nature Medicine on June 30, 2013.

Explore further: Increasing uterine expression of developmental genes may improve IVF success

More information: Liver receptor homolog-1 is essential for pregnancy, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3192

Related Stories

Increasing uterine expression of developmental genes may improve IVF success

November 17, 2011
New research in Developmental Cell suggests that increasing expression of certain developmental genes at precise times in the uterus might improve pregnancy rates from in vitro fertilization-embryo transfers (IVF-ET), which ...

Lecithin component may reduce fatty liver, improve insulin sensitivity

May 25, 2011
A natural product called DLPC (dilauroyl phosphatidylcholine) increases sensitivity to insulin and reduces fatty liver in mice, leading Baylor College of Medicine researchers to believe it may provide a treatment for prediabetic ...

Molecular signaling in early placenta formation gives clues to causes of pregnancy complications

April 16, 2013
Understanding the molecular control of placenta formation, the organ which enables fetal growth, is critical in diagnosing and treating related pregnancy complications. A group of scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, ...

Molecule found that inhibits estrogen, key risk factor for endometrial and breast cancers

May 9, 2012
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a molecule that inhibits the action of estrogen. This female hormone plays a key role in the growth, maintenance and repair of reproductive ...

Recommended for you

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

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.