NIH funded researchers report that some women who have infertility as a result of endometriosis lack molecules in the uterus that allow the embryo to attach to the uterine wall. The researchers suspect that because the embryo cannot attach to the uterine wall, a pregnancy cannot become established, and infertility results. Endometriosis is a major cause of infertility, occurring in from 35-50 percent of women who have difficulty becoming pregnant.
The finding appears in the July 2003 issue of Endocrinology. The researchers also reported that a number of genes present in the uteri of endometriosis patients appear to be functioning inappropriately. Many of the genes identified in this study had not been shown previously to contribute to endometriosis and the infertility that commonly accompanies the disorder.
The research builds upon an earlier National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) funded study, which reported that the molecule L-selectin, needs to be present on the uterine wall before an embryo can attach itself to the uterus and a pregnancy can begin.
A story on this appeared on the Hum-Molgen site on January, 23 2003 - see http://hum-molgen.org/NewsGen/01-2003/msg08.html.
In addition, a news release describing this earlier finding appears on the NICHD web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/new/releases/embryo.cfm.
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