Women Being Recruited for UB Study Related to Fertility

By Lois Baker

Release Date: May 26, 2005 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo researchers are recruiting women between the ages of 18 and 44 for the first comprehensive study of the relationship between menstrual-cycle hormonal changes and levels of toxic and potentially damaging free radical oxygen molecules, which may be one factor associated with infertility.

The new study is being funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.

Participants who meet the study guidelines and agree to take part will be involved for 2 ½ months and receive monetary compensation.

Women interested in being considered for the study may call 829-2975, ext. 3128.

Free radicals are oxygen molecules produced during metabolism. If they are not neutralized by antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E in the diet, free radicals can damage tissues, resulting in what is known as oxidative stress.

Research in humans and animals has suggested that oxidative stress may be implicated in infertility in both males and females, said Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D., associate professor of social and preventive medicine in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and principal investigator on the study.

Researchers will take samples of blood and urine from study participants at eight key points during two consecutive menstrual cycles. The samples will be analyzed for changes in several indicators of oxidative stress at the times of greatest hormonal variation. The relationship between levels of estrogen and progesterone and measures of oxidative stress at those key points also will be analyzed.

"We think oxidative stress may influence female fertility by impacting the growth of egg follicles in the ovary, by its role in the development of endometriosis and its possible regulation of blood vessel formation in the endometrium," said Wactawski-Wende. "These potential mechanisms are not well understood, however.

"Researchers have been hindered by the lack of information on the interrelationship of antioxidants, oxidative stress levels and hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Our study will be the first to provide that information."