Fertility experts from Durham University have discovered a spanking new gene that could escort to burst through in fertility treatments for couples who trying hard to start a family. They discovered the gene, known as PDILT that is part of the PDI family.
This gene helps another gene to produce called ADAM3 to form and accumulate correctly, and then to reach the surface of a sperm, in that way equipping it with the right tools and machinery to navigate and make contact with an egg. The study shows the importance of PDILT in the process of sperm-to-egg binding.
Besides, enabling the sperm to swim past the uterus, climb the oviduct and to get through the sticky outer layers of an egg. A team led by Dr. Adam Benham, a senior lecturer at the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, looked for the impact of PDILT gene on fertility.
Dr Benham and colleagues carried out a mice study to observe the gene’s impact on fertility, they found after PDILT gene was switched off in male mice undergoing tests, during which less than three percent of female eggs were fertilized, in comparison eighty percent of eggs were fertilized when PDILT gene was switched on.
Researchers were interested in the family of this gene and they found a new member of this family. They also found out that it was made into a protein, and that this protein was only expressed in the testes. They hope that after further developments, the protein can be used to help women conceive babies through IVF.
Similar to any navigation system this gene plays an essential role in getting sperm to the right destination, in good shape, and in good time. They hope to discover how the PDILT gene affects fertility in humans, mutations in this gene may be responsible for unexplained male fertility problems and further researcher may aid for more effective IVF treatment, added Dr Benham
Now they find out that this is still the case in humans. So they will collaborate with clinicians and colleagues in other universities in the UK to drive this forward into the clinic. They collaborated with fertility experts in Osaka in Japan and made a mouse model to find out that this gene was essential for infertility.
However, the latest statistics by Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), shown that the average age of patients rose to thirty-five when women’ fertility tumbles down drastically. Researchers hope these fertility techniques will be successful when applied in humans.