Evolutionary change in mice to provide help in infertility treatment

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New York, Jan 24 (UNI) An evolutionary change in field mice may revolutionise the treatment of human infertility.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool found that field mice have evolved a unique way of sacrificing some of their immunity protection in favour of a more rapid fertilisation process.

The mice have traded the production of an immunologically important protein CD46 in favour of this faster fertilisation process in order to compete with other mice more successfully.

Present in both animals and humans-- CD46-- helps protect the body's cells from attack by its immune system. Over time, field mice have lost the ability to produce this protein, resulting in instability of a cap-like structure, called the acrosome, present over the head of the sperm, Science Daily reported.

This instability allows the acrosome to be shed from the sperm head to create a new surface essential for sperm to be capable of fusing with an egg.

''By improving our understanding of defects in CD46 we may improve treatments for infertility in men. Humans normally produce a single egg each month and there is no evolutionary necessity to develop rapid sperm reaction to egg fertilisation,'' Immunologist, Professor Peter Johnson explained.

''Interestingly the rapid reaction caused in mice is similar to that in IVF treatment in humans where the acronome is artificially expelled from the sperm head before it is introduced to the egg to speed up the fertilisation process. Field mice appear to do this naturally,'' he added.

UNI XC YA RS1307

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