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Can Daily Kisspeptin Injections Cure Infertility?

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by Jennifer Redmond, Editor-in-Chief, Mar. 23, 2010

Some recent headlines may lead you to believe that daily injections can cure infertility. The truth is, further research is needed to determine if twice daily injections of the hormone kisspeptin can increase hormone production in women with hypothalamic amennorhea.

Hypothalmic amenorrhea is a condition where menstruation stops because the hypothalamus is not producing the hormone GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone). This condition accounts for approximately 30 percent of cases of amenorrhea, or lack of menstruation, in women of reproductive age.

Dr. Waljit S Dhillo, of Imperial College London, recently presented findings from a study at the Society for Endocrinology BES meeting in Manchester, England. According to Dr. Dhillo, “Over eight weeks, a group of 10 women with hypothalamic amenorrhea were either given twice-weekly injections of kisspeptin or twice-weekly injections of saline as a control.”

Blood samples were then taken at regular intervals to measure their levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), two sex hormones essential for ovulation and fertility. On the last day of the trial, women who had been given kisspeptin injections showed a 16-fold increase in their hormonal response, compared to the saline controls.

It’s important to note that this was a small study – 10 women over eight weeks. As a result, Dr. Dhillo cautions, “Further studies are required … to investigate if kisspeptin can stimulate reproductive hormones sufficiently to induce fertility in women who have hormonal disorders … but intact ovaries and eggs.”