By Sarai Arrones BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 02/12/2015

Women are born with all the eggs they will use throughout their lives. These will be able to reproduce themselves as long as they are healthy and in good condition. A number of specific genes are responsible for keeping the ovules healthy, but how they are regulated is unknown.

According to a study published in the journal Science, there appears to be an enzyme group that plays a fundamental role in this process.

The Clr4 complex improves female fertility

The Chao Yu team from the University of Hangzhou (China), has studied the role of a group of enzymes called complex Clr4, known to regulate various cellular signaling pathways.

Researchers sought to determine, through various tests done on mice, if this complex also intervenes in the process of oocyte maintenance.

The results of these tests show that two Clr4 components are essential to maintaining eggs healthy. If either component is removed, it causes infertility in very young mice.

Female reproductive capacity

Researchers also created mice embryos without these two components. This caused the animals to lose their oocytes producing follicles at an early age.

These findings suggest that Clr4 complex is necessary to keep eggs protected and, therefore, to protect the reproductive potential of women.

The study provides a better understanding of human reproduction. Mice used presented conditions similar to human infertility and are, therefore, better than the animal models previously used in fertility studies.

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Authors and contributors

 Sarai Arrones
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biomedicine and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Specialist Training Course of gamete, embryo, and animal tissue cryopreservation. Embryologist specializing in the field of Assisted Procreation. More information
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