New hope for infertility treatment

April 1, 2009


It has just been reported in the Society for Endocrinology journal that the hormone kisspeptin shows promise as a potential new treatment for infertility. Research carried out at Imperial College London, have shown that giving kisspeptin to women with infertility can activate the release of sex hormones which control the menstrual cycle. For women with low sex hormone levels this could be a breakthrough for a new fertility therapy. Kisspeptin sounds like a loving form of antacid, but is actually a product of the KISS-1 gene and a key regulator of reproductive function. If we do not have this then gene, then puberty does not occur and we do not achieve sexual maturity.

The research was primarily concerned with a small group of ten women whose periods had stopped due to a hormone imbalance and who were injected with either kisspeptin or saline as a control measure. All the women gave blood samples to measure their levels of the two sex hormones essential for ovulation and fertility: luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).

The group who were given the kisspeptin showed to a 48-fold increase in LH and a 16-fold increase in FSH, when compared to the control group who were given only saline. The lead researcher, Dr Waljit Dhillo, said that this discovery offers huge promise as a treatment for infertility as it suggests that kisspeptin treatment could restore reproductive function in women with low sex hormone levels.


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