Researchers have found that the protein
required to stimulate the process of fertilisation can now be re-created in the
lab. This synthetic version called Pulmonary Artery Wedge Pressure (PAWP) could
help trigger fertilisation. The research findings promise to diagnose and treat
cases of male infertility where a patient's sperm is unable to initiate or
induce activation of the egg to form an early embryo.
In a statement issued to the Queen's
University, Dr. Oko (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) said, "PAWP is able to
induce embryo development in human eggs in a fashion similar to the natural
triggering of embryo development by the sperm cell during fertilization. Based
on our findings, we envision that physicians will be able to improve their
diagnosis and treatment of infertility, a problem that affects 10 to 15 per
cent of couples worldwide."
Most infertility treatments are now done by
injecting a single sperm directly into an egg. By supplementing the sperm with
PAWP protein, medicos can improve the success rate of infertility treatments in
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's 2013 Annual Report on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, has
recorded that only about 37% of treatments have led to successful pregnancies.
Researchers involved in the Queen's
University study believe sperm cells' inability to initiate fertilization and
trigger embryo development upon entering the egg account for much of the
failure in ART and are hopeful their method could increase the rate of
Trends also show that the low rate of success
may be due different factors in the male and female, which can also be linked
to diet, lifestyle, exposure chemicals and possibly even tight underwear.
"The results of our study set the
stage for further investigation of PAWP protein as a molecular marker for
diagnosis and as a factor for improvement of infertility treatments," said
The finding is published in the FASEB