According to a new study done by Yousef Al-Abed, PhD, and his colleagues at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the determination of fertility in males is done by a factor present in immune cells which regulates human semen. The study will also appear in the latest issue of Molecular Medicine.
The researchers have isolated a substance from both infertile and reproductively healthy man. It is called MIF or macrophage migration inhibitory factor. MIF helps in the maturation of a sperm which is indispensable for its union with an egg and its fertilization. The samples of semen were gathered from men who didn’t involve themselves in any sexual activities for the previous three or five days. Out of the 95 males, it was established later that 27 were reproductively healthy and 68 had problems related to fertility. The findings revealed that those who had fertility problems either had too low or too high MIF, while the other 27 had just the right amount. The researchers also added MIF to dishes filled with sperms in the lab and to their surprise it reduced their count and also affected their motility.
As far as the stats say, for the first time 15 percent of couples attempting to get pregnant have problems conceiving and around 40 percent of infertility problems arise due to some disorder present in the male. MIF is also linked to many diseases like diabetes and sepsis. Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory reaction to infection which claims the lives of about 215,000 Americans every year. 500,000 survive the infection and live, however they face serious cardiovascular problems. But as per Dr. Al-Abed, the factor is not toxic on its own. It depends on other substances. Ressearchers have continued the work to find the helping factors and also to see that whether MIF can work as a male contraceptive.
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