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Nitric Oxide Could Extend Women’s Fertility
Scientists have found that an important chemical compound, nitric oxide (NO), appears to reverse or slow the aging of eggs in mouse ovaries. The discovery suggests nitric oxide could one day assist women in their 30s and 40s to extend the time to remain fertile and augment their chances of having healthy babies, the researchers say.
The finding, by investigators at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, was published in the Aug. 30, 2005 issue of the American Chemical Society's journal Biochemistry.
In their laboratory work, Anuradha Goud and collaborators collected more than 1,500 eggs from mouse ovarian ducts one to two hours or four to six hours after ovulation. Mouse eggs that aren't impregnated within hours of ovulation begin to age rapidly. After close to six hours, these eggs are less likely to be fertilized perfectly, leading to chromosomal anomaly in the embryos.
To avoid this, the scientists exposed the eggs to changing concentrations of nitric oxide (NO), a multifunctional signaling molecule that, along with other things, helps keep arteries supple and helps men accomplish erections. In the "older" eggs, the compound seemed to slow the hardening of the eggs' outer shells, diminish the activity of the cytoplasm of an egg microtubules (the structures that attach to chromosomes and guide them to different parts of a cell during division), increase the release of cortical granules (the molecules responsible for preventing egg fertilization by more than one sperm) and prolong other signs of aging.
Nitric Oxide may extend fertility in women and help prevent chromosome errors
Besides possibly extending fertility in women, the conclusion suggest that nitric oxide could help prevent chromosome errors during early embryonic development. These errors can be responsible Down syndrome, spontaneous miscarriages and other issues associated with pregnancies later in life.
"Eggs from older women may be particularly sensitive to aging after they are released from the ovaries," said Husam Abu-Soud, Ph.D., a Wayne State University scientist and co-author of the study. "There for, the time available for optimal fertilization of these women's eggs may be quite a bit shorter than the time frame in younger women." But exposing the eggs to the correct levels of nitric oxide "could extend this fertilizable time window in both older and younger women," he speculates. The conclusions also raise the possibility that nitric oxide could be used to enhance the fertility of eggs harvested for use during in vitro fertilization.
Although it is unclear how nitric oxide produced these results, the researchers surmise that the compound may prevent irregularities in calcium release within the eggs. These differences have been linked to aging of mammalian eggs.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. The ACS was founded in 1876 at New York University and currently has more than 164,000 members at all degree-levels. It is in all fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and all of it’s related fields. It is the world's largest scientific society and it’s also one of the leading sources of authoritative scientific information.
The American Chemical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multifaceted membership of more than 158,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes copious scientific scholarly journals and databases, it arranges many major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
Keywords: Nitric Oxide, Fertility, reverse the aging, fertile longer, multipurpose signaling molecule, arteries supple, aging, ageing, delay signs of aging, vitro fertilization
American Chemical Society
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