Tuesday, January 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Horse hormone find may aid human pregnancies

By
From page B3 | February 27, 2014 |

Identification of a new pregnancy-supporting hormone in horses has resolved a reproductive mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, and it may have important implications for sustaining human pregnancies, reports a team of researchers led by a UC Davis veterinary scientist.

Characterization of the hormone, dihydroprogesterone, or DHP, may lead the way to better hormone therapies for preventing pre-term labor in pregnant women. The findings were reported online in the Feb. 18 Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This work ends 50 years of speculation as to how horses sustain the last half of their pregnancies, despite the fact that the hormone progesterone is no longer detectable in blood,” said professor Alan Conley, a reproductive physiologist in the School of Veterinary Medicine and senior author on the study.

“We show for the first time that in horses this ‘new’ progestin, DHP, is equally effective as progesterone in sustaining pregnancy during the last few months.”

Conley and his colleagues are hopeful that further research will lead to naturally occurring therapeutics that are free of some of the potential health risks associated with the synthetic drugs currently available in human medicine.

The role of progesterone is so important for a successful pregnancy that reproductive biologists have widely accepted for more than 80 years that pregnancies in humans and other mammals could not be carried to term without it.

Progesterone works largely by activating nuclear progesterone receptors — proteins in the tissues of the uterus and cervix — that induce hormonal responses. Progesterone then is able to stimulate growth and secretion of the uterine lining, which is critical for establishing and sustaining pregnancies in all mammals.

The fact that mares have no detectable levels of progesterone during the last half of their pregnancy has led scientists to suspect that their bodies produce another, yet undefined, steroidal hormone that takes the place of progesterone in supporting the pregnancy.

In this study, the researchers demonstrated in pregnant mares and through laboratory analyses, that the hormone DHP is as potent as progesterone in activating the progesterone receptors of horses, triggering endometrial growth and maintaining pregnancies to term.

“DHP is potentially the first of a new class of naturally occurring progesterone-like hormones that could prove valuable in sustaining pregnancies and preventing pre-term labor in women, as well as horses and captive wildlife species,” Conley said.

These studies were part of the doctoral research of lead author Elizabeth L. Scholtz, assisted by Benjamin Moeller, C. Jo Corbin, and Scott D. Stanley, all of UCD, and researchers from Duke University, the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the University of South Carolina.

— UC Davis News

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    In vino veritas: A criminal case and intrigue in Napa Valley

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Interfaith event focuses on justice

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Parking lawsuit may be more than meets the eye

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Crash leads to DUI, hit-run arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Blizzard howls its way into Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    New-home sales jump 11.6% in December

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Senate Dems block GOP effort to wind down pipeline debate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Sutter Davis Hospital seeks volunteer doulas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Apply now for Soroptimist service grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Winter produce, treats available at Wednesday market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Have a ‘Heart to Heart’ with Dr. G

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Workshop offers tips on GoPro cameras

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Seed swap set Friday at Davis Cemetery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    VFW post plans Valentine’s Day Heroes Breakfast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Apply now to be on Davis’ coop crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Thorp receives UCD’s Distinguished Emeritus Award

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Learn nature photography from an expert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Innovation opportunities on the agenda

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    A winemaker’s downfall

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A7

    Gerber nominations open now

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Wife’s attitude costs her friends

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Taking turns as the halfway house

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Damage done to democracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    It’s foggy? Turn on your headlights

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Locals will join march for climate change

    By Michelle Millet | From Page: A6

     
    A family was torn apart, but we survived

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    Anatomy of a hoops collapse: Can Aggie men handle the pressure?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women need to get in gear for a basketball road trip

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie women almost get a sweep of Portland tennis teams

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Four DHS wrestlers soar at McClellan Air Force Base

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD swims past Santa Barbara

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Eat ribs for the Davis Aquadarts

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Lea Rosenberg leads Odd Fellows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Arts

    DHS Idol finals will be a tough competition

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A9

     
    ‘Ideation’ a funny, dark, thrilling farce — and more

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Wynonna Judd will perform Feb. 13 in Vacaville

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: Lorraine Bernice DeGraff

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7