Changes in culture and lifestyle lead couples to wait longer before trying to conceive. But there is often a feeling of running against time, as egg quality and number decrease in women as they approach middle age.
Now the researchers of theUniversity of Queensland they reversed this aging process in the eggs of mice, using a metabolic compound that could lead to new female fertility drugs.
Although the phenomenon differs from person to person, it is largely believed that the number of eggs begins to slowly decline around the age of 30, and collapses after about 45 years.
It is not a precipice as steep as the media often say, but age is undoubtedly a factor in family planning. It is not a mystery, therefore, that they try to slow down (or block, or even reverse) the effects of menopause or infertility.
Female fertility, the new study
The researchers linked a specific molecule to the loss of quality of eggs in mice. They found that advancing age is accompanied by a decline in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD +) levels in mice. An important compound for metabolism. This in turn affects the quality of the remaining eggs, leading to fertility problems in older female specimens.
Then, the team investigated how this molecule can be restored, and whether that could help delay or even reverse infertility. They gave the mice orally a precursor compound called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). Cells use NMN to produce NAD +, so raising the precursor levels should help increase NAD + levels and, by extension, improve fertility. Apparently it works.
“Quality eggs are essential for a successful pregnancy. They provide practically all the building blocks required by an embryo ", says Hayden Homer, at the head of the study. "We treated mice with low doses of NMN in drinking water for four weeks and were able to dramatically restore egg quality and increase live births during a breeding trial."
Female fertility, a path for humans too
If the results were to reach humans (which is obviously still under discussion at this early stage) a new option could be opened up for couples looking to improve their chances of conception.
“Our findings suggest that there may also be an opportunity in humans. It could restore the quality of the eggs, and in turn the female reproductive function. The way would be the same, oral administration of NAD-enhancing agents. It would be much less invasive than in vitro fertilization ", he claims Homer.
"Importantly, however, while promising, the potential benefits of these agents remain to be tested in clinical trials."