Research press release



Developmental biology: Testosterone protects male embryos in mice



今回、John Schimentiたちの研究グループは、胚発生の際にDNAの複製と修復に異常を引き起こす変異遺伝型を持つマウス胚の生存率を調べた。こうした異常が生じた後には、DNAの損傷と炎症が発生した。Schimentiたちは、このシナリオでは、マウス雌胚の生存率が雄胚よりかなり低いという観察結果を明らかにしている。生存率に性差が生じるのは、雄胚には、保護作用と抗炎症作用のあるテストステロンが存在しているためである可能性が非常に高い。妊娠マウスにテストステロンを投与すると、雌胚の生存率が顕著に上昇した。


Testosterone may protect against the harmful effects of inflammation and increase male embryo survival in mice, reports a paper published online this week in Nature. The protective effects of testosterone were replicated by administering ibuprofen to pregnant mice, although this does not mean that ibuprofen could protect embryos in human pregnancies.

During pregnancy, inflammation responses are usually repressed to prevent harm to the fetus. Although it is established that chronic DNA damage during embryo development can lead to inflammation, little is known about the consequences of maternal or fetal inflammation during pregnancy.

John Schimenti and colleagues investigated the survival rates of mouse embryos with a mutated genotype that caused defective DNA replication and repair during embryo development. This process subsequently led to DNA damage and inflammation. The authors observed that female mouse embryos were much less likely to survive than male mouse embryos in this scenario. This survival bias was probably due to the presence in male embryos of testosterone, which has a protective, anti-inflammatory effect. When pregnant mice were administered with testosterone, the survival of female embryos increased markedly.

The authors additionally report that the administration of ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), to pregnant mice also ensured equal survival rates of male and female embryos. Further research will be needed to investigate the specific causes of inflammation, and to establish whether these findings could be applied to humans.

doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-0936-6

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