Why some women fail to conceive

Studies in infertile female mice are helping scientists understand why women sometimes fail to conceive. The rodents are specially bred to lack a specific receptor on womb cells, called the lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) receptor. While they produce eggs in the normal way, after fertilization these otherwise healthy embryos have trouble implanting in the receptor-deficient womb.

The finding could apply to human females, because they also have LPA receptors lying on the surface of their uterine cells. Researchers reporting in the May 4 issue of Nature say their discovery may open up new areas of fertility research and treatment, tells the New York Times.

Researchers in the United States have found that mice lacking the molecule, known as an LPA receptor, have difficulty becoming pregnant, even though their eggs are readily fertilised. As the same receptors are active in the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/ 19/94/377/14228_supernatural.html ' target=_blank>human womb, the findings offer potentially valuable insights into a common cause of childlessness.

If the LPA receptor also affects &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/379/10952_clone.html ' target=_blank>human embryo implantation, drugs could be designed to manipulate its action to improve pregnancy rates. The discovery, which is published today in the journal Nature, emerged as a spin-off from research into the role of a class of fats known as phospholipids, which play an important signalling role in many cells.

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