Controlling the fertility window

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Researchers have discovered that recurrent pregnancy loss can be due to a dysfunctional monthly fertility window or opportunity. The study, from Professor Jan Brosens and professor Siobhan Quenby of the Division of Reproductive Health, Warwick Medical School, sheds new light on the mechanisms that determine the timing and duration of the fertility window. The study also shows how a malfunctioning window can increase the chances of miscarriage.

The fertility window opens

Apparently, the release of the cytokine IL-33 and the activation of its receptor (ST2) in uterine cells induces an inflammatory response that creates the optimal environment for fertility creating the two to three day window of peak opportunity for conception.

But sometimes, it stays open too long

Research revealed that for patients with a record of recurrent pregnancy loss, the inflammatory response was prolonged leaving the fertility window open for a longer period of time. When the fertility window remains open too long, embryos which implant out-of-phase into that environment cannot be supported thus leading to miscarriage.

Learning to control the window

“The study fundamentally changes our understanding of the issue with far reaching clinical implications. The IL-33/ST2 pathway is already considered to be a major target for therapeutic interventions across Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, obesity, asthma and other autoimmune disorders. We believe that targeting the same pathway in the uterus may help to prevent miscarriage by regulating the fertility window,” explained Professor Quenby. “It’s an exciting discovery that we hope will mean new development for a group of women for whom there isn’t currently any help.”
Source: University of Warwick


 
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