Scientists believe they may have uncovered the cause of common infertility disease polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS)
The finding has led to a cure in a trial on mice, with a drugs trial on women set to begin later this year.
The condition is said to affect as many as one in five women across the globe, with three-quarters of them struggling to conceive.
Dr Robert Norman, of the University of Adelaide, said: “It’s by far the most common hormonal condition affecting women of reproductive age but it hasn’t received a lot of attention.”
Researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research believe the syndrome could be caused by excessive exposure to the hormone anti-mullerian hormone, known as AMH.
They discovered that women with PCOS have a 30 per cent higher AMH level than normal and wanted to test whether the genetic condition passed onto their daughters.
This seemed to correlate when tested on mice and the scientists were able to cure the condition passed to the mice’s offspring with a drug commonly used in IVF to control hormones called cetrorelix. With symptoms stopping once it had been administered.
The research team is now planning a drugs trial of cetrorelix on women and hope it could be an attractive strategy to restore ovulation and increase pregnancy rate in women with PCOS.
Dr Norman said it may also explain why women in their late 30s and early 40s with PCOS seem to get pregnant naturally.
He told the New Scientist that AMH levels decline in women in a normal range; a sign of reduced fertility but women who start out with higher levels, age-related decline may bring them back into a normal range, but this theory needs to be tested.
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