Putrescine water may be Fountain of Youth for eggs

November 26, 2012

Ottawa -- An Ottawa scientist has discovered a critical reason why women experience fertility problems as they get older. The breakthrough by Dr. Johné Liu, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and professor at the University of Ottawa, also points to a simple solution that could increase the viability of egg cells for women in their late 30s and older -- putrescine water.

In an online editorial published by Aging based on his recently published findings, Liu outlines how a simple program of drinking water or taking a pill that contains the naturally occurring compound putrescine could reduce the rate at which middle-aged women produce eggs with the incorrect number of chromosomes, the leading cause of reduced fertility and increases in miscarriages and congenital birth defects.

Putrescine is naturally produced in mammals by an enzyme called ornithine decarboxylase,or ODC, and is easily absorbed and cleared by the body. In female mammals, ODC levels are known to rise during ovulation, when the egg cell matures and is released from the ovary. Dr. Liu has shown that ODC levels rise very little in older females. He has also shown that inhibiting ODC levels in young mice leads to an increase in egg cells with chromosomal defects.

Taking this a step further, Dr. Liu's team gave older mice putrescine water in the period immediately leading up to and during ovulation, and found that it reduced the incidence of defective eggs by more than 50%.

This is a remarkable outcome for such a simple approach," says Dr. Liu. "However, we could not have imagined this without first understanding the role that ODC and putrescine play in maintaining the chromosomal integrity of egg cells. While there is work to be done before it can be approved for clinical use, we feel this approach could be used for natural conception as well as in vitro fertilization."

Although promising, a putrescine pill is still a long way from being available on the market. Putrescine is toxic to the fetus if it is administered after conception, which makes timing, dosage and monitoring critical. Accordingly, this approach must go through the appropriate stages of testing to determine its clinical safety and effectiveness in humans.
-end-
The full paper, "Deficiency of ovarian ornithine decarboxylase contributes to aging-related egg aneuploidy in mice," was recently accepted for publication online ahead of print by Aging Cell. The editorial was published online by Aging on November 23. Yong Tao of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa is co-author on both publications.

Funding for this research was provided by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and a partial scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Training Program in Reproduction, Early Development, and the Impact on Health.

Media contacts

Paddy Moore
Manager, Communications and Public Relations,
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-737-8899 x 73687
613-323-5680 (cell)
padmoore@ohri.ca

Néomie Duval
Media Relations Officer
University of Ottawa
613-562-5800 x2981
613-863-7221 (cell)
neomie.duval@uOttawa.ca

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI)

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university's Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Research at OHRI is supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. www.ohri.ca

Research Bringing you Tomorrow's Health Care Today

About the University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa is committed to research excellence and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, which attracts the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world. It is an important stakeholder in the National Capital Region's economic development.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Related Ovulation Articles from Brightsurf:

How an egg cell's "operating manual" sets the stage for fertility
Recently published work from Carnegie's Allan Spradling and Wanbao Niu revealed in unprecedented detail the genetic instructions immature egg cells go through step by step as they mature into functionality.

Sugar promotes sperm longevity in pig reproductive tract
For many livestock species, artificial insemination (AI) is standard. But it can be tricky to achieve success the first time, thanks to variability in ovulation timing across the herd.

A study by TalTech geneticists revealed new potential causes of female infertility
Over the last six years a group of Estonian geneticists led by Associate Professor Agne Velthut-Meikas and a PhD student Ilmatar Rooda from TalTech Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology have studied genes previously associated primarily with female hormone synthesis and ovarian follicle development.

Swamp wallabies conceive new embryo before birth -- a unique reproductive strategy
Reproduction specialists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Germany, and the University of Melbourne, Australia, recently demonstrated that swamp wallabies ovulate, mate and form a new embryo before the birth of the previous offspring.

Corpus luteum cells of cats successfully cultivated and comprehensively characterized
The reproduction of lynxes is highly mysterious. Unlike other wild cats, most lynxes are only receptive for a few days once a year.

Are fertility apps useful?
Researchers at EPFL and Stanford have carried out an analysis of the largest datasets from fertility awareness apps.

A study in scarlet Japanese macaques
Researchers assumed that the red faces in Japanese macaques signaled fertility.

Marijuana and fertility: Five things to know
For patients who smoke marijuana and their physicians, 'Five things to know about ... marijuana and fertility' provides useful information for people who may want to conceive.

Think female race car drivers aren't fit enough? Think again
In the world of racing, the debate on whether women are as fit as men behind the wheel can often become heated.

Annovera birth control vaginal ring effectively prevents unwanted pregnancy, research finds
A recently approved contraceptive vaginal ring -- the first that can be used for an entire year -- is a highly effective birth control method, according to clinical trial data that will be presented Tuesday at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

Read More: Ovulation News and Ovulation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.