Protein levels key to infertility and miscarriage

Female infertility and pregnancy loss may be caused by a problem with a single protein, research suggests.

Pregnancy: protein has a key role

Researchers found faulty levels of a protein that regulates fluid balance in parts of the womb can prevent implantation or trigger a miscarriage.

The discovery suggests drugs could target the faulty protein to prevent the conditions.

Researchers from Imperial College London found that, among women who had unexplained infertility, levels of the kinase protein SGK1 were higher in a section of the womb lining.

Yet among women who had lost three or more pregnancies in a row, levels of the protein were far lower in a different set of tissues of the endometrium.

Researchers bred mice to carry mutations that affected the protein’s production in these tissues.

Much higher levels of the protein disrupted the manufacture of proteins involved in the implantation of the fertilised egg. They also affected the womb environment. Together, these effects caused infertility.

Mice bred to have reduced SGK1 activity during pregnancy failed to protect against oxidative stress during the extensive tissue changes, which led to loss of the foetus.

Researchers concluded: ‘Deregulation of a single kinase in two distinct cellular compartments of the endometrium – the luminal epithelium and underlying stroma – is intricately linked to subsequent implantation failure and miscarriage, respectively.’

Around one in eight pregnancies that are known to the mother end in miscarriage. Recurrent miscarriage affects around one in 100 women.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Medical centre sign

One in three GP practices in Northern Ireland faced serious closure risk in past 18 months

One in three GP practices in Northern Ireland have faced a serious risk of closure...

BMA sign

BMA warns Treasury 'many practices' will close without emergency financial support

GP leaders have urged the Treasury to agree emergency funding to support general...


Practices can use £172m PCN cash to support staff pay rises, GP leaders say

Practices can use their share of Β£172m from the 2023/24 investment and impact fund...

GP typing at computer

EMIS apologises for 'human error' that caused major GP IT system crash

EMIS has apologised to GP practices hit by a major system failure that left them...

GP consultation

GP practices delivering 10% more appointments per day compared with 2019

GP practices in England delivered 10% more appointments per working day in the first...

computer and stethoscope

Major IT system outage heaps pressure on GPs over bank holiday

A major IT system failure that left GPs across England unable to access patient records...