Fertility and weight relationship investigated

August 21, 2013 by Melissa Coci, Science Network WA
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."

Explore further: Infertility: How can the ovulation function be restored?

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

Related Stories

Infertility: How can the ovulation function be restored?

October 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

June 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 ...

Spread of breast cancer linked to kisspeptins which normally inhibit metastasis

April 16, 2013
KISS 1 is a metastasis-suppressor gene which helps to prevent the spread of cancers, including melanoma, pancreatic and ovarian cancers to name a few. But new research from Western University's Schulich School of Medicine ...

Recommended for you

Study looks at how newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels

February 19, 2018
A new study published today found that a newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels when it senses inadequate blood flow to tissues.

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

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.