New drug can help treat reproductive health conditions like PCOS, improve fertility in women

Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition in which the hypothalamus stops or slows the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, as a result of which the woman stops having menstruation.

Myupchar November 19, 2020 14:58:47 IST
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New drug can help treat reproductive health conditions like PCOS, improve fertility in women

Representational image. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Reproductive health issues often lead to infertility, which can be a major cause of distress. Though several treatments are now available to treat reproductive conditions and methods like IVF are available to help couples conceive, experts say that much still needs to be done to find more effective ways to treat infertility and reproductive health issues.

Now, in a recent study, a group of researchers at the Imperial College London claim to have found that a drug called MVT-602 can be used to target a hormone called kisspeptin and treat reproductive issues in women.

The findings of the study are published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Kisspeptin

Kisspeptin is a hormone produced inside the hypothalamus region of the brain and it stimulates the pituitary gland (also present in the brain) to release neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters then stimulate the release of two reproductive hormones — luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) — that have an important role in the production of estrogen and testosterone.

Low or inadequate levels of kisspeptin are suggested to prevent menstruation, cause infertility and also delay or prevent puberty onset. Kisspeptin injections are used to trigger ovulation and help with in-vitro insemination. However, the effects of the hormone only last for a few hours.

MVT-602 

MVT-602 is an oligopeptide (short chain of amino acids) that acts as an agonist of kisspeptin. Agonists are compounds that bind to the active site of hormones and make the hormone perform their functions. The active site is a pocket in hormones where the substrate (whichever molecule the hormone acts on or a natural molecule that activates or inhibits the function of a hormone) binds.

The latest study

For the latest study, the researchers compared the effects of the drug MVT-602 in vitro and then on three groups of women — 12 healthy women, six women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and six with hypothalamic amenorrhea — with natural kisspeptin.

Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition in which the hypothalamus stops or slows the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, as a result of which the woman stops having menstruation.

The researchers compared the reproductive hormone levels of women after receiving MVT-602 and natural kisspeptin and the difference in reproductive hormone levels in women with PCOS, hypothalamic amenorrhea and healthy women after receiving MVT-602.

Here are some of the findings of the study:

  • MVT-602 led to an increase in reproductive hormone levels (both LH and FSH) that stayed high for longer than what was seen in those who got kisspeptin. 
  • The levels of luteinizing hormone were found to peak within about 22 hours of administration of MVT-602 and they remained high for about two days. On the other hand, those who received kisspeptin had their LH levels peak at 4.7 hours and stay high for about 14 hours. 
  • The increase in LH levels was the same for healthy women and women with PCOS. However, it was comparatively quicker in women with hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA). The study authors indicated that this may be due to the higher levels of kisspeptin receptors in HA patients.

For more information, read our article on Infertility

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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