Simple blood test can reveal IVF's suitability for individual patients

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Washington, July 2 (ANI): A simple blood test can now tell whether In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) would be successful in a particular patient or not.

Dr. Cathy Allen and her team from the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, have for the first time identified genetic predictors of the potential success or failure of IVF treatment in blood-a discovery, they reckon, can help understand why IVF works for some patients but not for others.

Earlier studies focussed at gene profiles in such tissues as the uterine lining, but in the current study, the researchers chose to examine the gene expression patterns in RNA extracted from peripheral (circulating) blood-an easily accessible biological sample.

They took blood samples at eight different stages during the period around conception and the early stages of the IVF cycle.

Five of the samples came from women who had achieved clinical pregnancies, three from those who had had implantation failure, and three from subfertile women who had conceived spontaneously.

The analysis revealed that 128 genes showed a more than two-fold difference in expression in early clinical pregnancy compared with a non-pregnant state.

The molecular pathways that were most over-represented in this expression were concerned with angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels), endothelin signalling (blood vessel constriction), inflammation, oxidative stress (damage to cell structures), vascular endothelial growth factor (signalling processes in blood vessel growth), and pyruvate metabolism (the supply of energy to cells).

"All these processes are important in the achievement and maintenance of pregnancy," said Allen.

She added: "We found that the gene expression profiles in blood of patients at the time of pituitary down-regulation showed interesting patterns of gene clustering. Over 200 genes were differentially expressed in patients who went on to achieve an IVF pregnancy compared with those who did not."

It was found that the peripheral blood gene expression "signature"-also known as the transcriptome-before IVF was predictive of IVF outcome.

The researchers said that the finding had demonstrated the power of high-dimensional technology in biomarker discovery, and highlighted the potential for developing clinically useful tools.

They hope that the results generated by their work will lead to the development of a test to aid in IVF decision-making.

They said that the work would help to identity biomarkers that can identify events occurring at implantation, the maintenance of pregnancy and successful or unsuccessful pregnancy outcome.

The findings of the study were presented at the 25th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.(ANI)

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