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Scientists find possible cause for IVF implantation failure

9 February 2015
Appeared in BioNews 789

Researchers have identified a biological process that may cause the failure of embryos to attach to the uterus wall after IVF, raising the possibility of future treatments.

Recent studies have found that microRNA (miRNA) levels are altered in the endometrium of women with repeated implantation failure. But how these molecules might affect the attachment of the embryo was previously unknown.

Scientists at the University of Manchester's Institute of Human Development have found that they may do so by inhibiting another molecule - insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGFR1) - that was not previously known to have a role in the attachment process.

The researchers grew human endometrial cells in the lab and tested how well mouse embryos could attach to this model of the uterus wall. They found that miRNA-145 can modulate the levels of IGF1R in the uterus and that both increasing levels of miRNA-145 and decreasing levels of IGF1R resulted in lower rates of implantation.

'Our study suggests that the presence of IGFR1 is required for the embryo to stick to the uterus,' said lead author Professor John Aplin.

In 2010 around 32 percent of fresh IVF cycles resulted in a live birth for women aged under 35 using their own eggs, and a major cause of failed cycles is implantation failure. The researchers hope that treatments that suppress miRNA-145 could increase the probability of embryos attaching to the uterus wall and developing to a full-term pregnancy.

More research will be needed to confirm that these findings hold true in the human uterus. However, the study authors are optimistic that this research could be translated into treatment for women who have experienced repeated implantation failure.

Professor Alpin said: 'This is one of the hardest groups of women to treat in fertility science and rates are still very low across the board. Repeated IVF cycles are stressful and can be expensive too.'

'Greater understanding of the mechanisms which control success or failure can lead directly to treatments to make IVF cycles more efficient so that infertile couples can start their families.'

The study was published in the Journal of Cell Science.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
IVF breakthrough: Manchester Uni deliver new hope to prospective mums
Mancunian Matters |  2 February 2015
miR-145 suppresses embryo-epithelial juxtacrine communication at implantation by modulating maternal IGF1R
Journal of Cell Science |  20 January 2015
Possible cause of IVF failure in some women identified
The University of Manchester (press release) |  2 February 2015
The IVF breakthrough that could slash failure rates by HALF: Scientists discover what stops embryo implanting in the womb
Mail Online |  2 February 2015
University of Manchester experts make IVF breakthrough
Manchester Evening News |  2 February 2015
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HAVE YOUR SAY
possible cause (User:117673 - 23/02/2015)
i guess it will be the ist step towards understanding but there is more than that coz its just human mind it has limits and gods creation is vast with no limits
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