NOV 07, 2014 12:00 AM PST

Tel Aviv University Combats Infertility

WRITTEN BY: Ilene Schneider
One in seven couples in America experiences difficulty in conceiving a child, especially those over the age of 35. A new discovery by researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Israel could boost the chances of conception in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.

The new research reveals a linkage between the genes of the innate immune system - inborn immunity, rather than immunity acquired during one's life - and ovarian longevity. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, constituted the doctoral work of Dr. Shiri Uri-Belapolsky of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine. The research was led by Prof. Ruth Shalgi of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at TAU's Sackler School of Medicine, Dr. Yehuda Kamari and Prof. Dror Harats of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center, and Dr. Aviv Shaish of Sheba Medical Center.

According to research conducted on laboratory mice, the genetic deletion of the protein Interleukin-1 (IL-1), a key player in the innate immune system, could improve the number of eggs available for fertilization as well as improve the ovarian response to hormonal stimulation involved in IVF procedures. This could prove especially effective in women who initially respond poorly to hormonal treatment.

"We revealed a clear linkage between the genes of the innate immune system and female reproduction," said Dr. Uri-Belapolsky. " The results of our study, which point to neutralizing the effects of the IL-1 protein to slow down the natural processes that destroy the eggs, may set the basis for the development of new treatments, such as an IL-1 blockade that would raise the number of eggs recovered during an IVF cycle and reduce the amount of hormones injected into women undergoing the treatment."

The connection between IL-1 and fertility was discovered by accident in the course of research performed by the scientists on the role of IL-1 in atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries. In a surprise result of the research, the fertility lifespan of IL-1-deficient mice was found to be 20 percent longer than that of control wild-type mice.

Female mammals, including humans, are born with a finite number of eggs and are subject to a biological clock that dictates the end of the reproductive lifespan at around 50 years of age. Over the past decade, a trend of postponing childbearing into advanced age has led to a corresponding upward trend in the number of IVF treatments. Inflammation has been reported to affect both IVF outcomes and the ovarian reserve adversely. "Identifying a possible culprit, such as Interleukin-1, may offer new insight into the mechanisms responsible for egg loss as well as practical interventions," the study reports.

"Our revelation is secured with a patent application, and naturally, further study in mice and in humans is required to examine this therapeutic opportunity," said Prof. Shalgi. "I believe we will take this research forward into human clinical trials. However, there is still research to be done before we can start these trials."
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
You May Also Like
JUN 18, 2020
Neuroscience
How Climate Change Worsened Zika Virus Defects
JUN 18, 2020
How Climate Change Worsened Zika Virus Defects
Image: Pixabay   In 2015 a massive outbreak of the Zika virus started in Brazil and spread across 33 countries. The ...
JUN 23, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FDA Warns Against Toxic Hand Sanitizers
JUN 23, 2020
FDA Warns Against Toxic Hand Sanitizers
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen demand for hand sanitizers soar in recent months. As such, the Food and Drug Administrati ...
JUN 25, 2020
Cardiology
Using RNA to Predict Acute Ischemic Strokes
JUN 25, 2020
Using RNA to Predict Acute Ischemic Strokes
Strokes are a leading cause of death and long term-disability across the globe. Ischemic strokes (IS) or acute ischemic ...
JUL 01, 2020
Cancer
The MicroRNA That Can Regulate Tumor Vascularization in Liver Cancer
JUL 01, 2020
The MicroRNA That Can Regulate Tumor Vascularization in Liver Cancer
Angiogenesis is the vascularization, or generation of blood vessels, of a part of the body. It is a normal function of h ...
JUL 05, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
New Drug May Reduce Inflammation from COVID-19
JUL 05, 2020
New Drug May Reduce Inflammation from COVID-19
Scientists from the University of Toronto have identified a new drug candidate that may reduce all kinds of inflammation ...
JUL 08, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
CBD Helps Dogs With Osteoarthritis Stay More Active
JUL 08, 2020
CBD Helps Dogs With Osteoarthritis Stay More Active
It’s estimated that up to a fifth of dogs above the age of one are afflicted with osteoarthritis, which causes inf ...
Loading Comments...