ORLANDO, FL (UroToday) - The recognized association between the intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and male sub-fertility and other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and the fact that Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) has a major influence on fetal and postnatal growth, led the authors to hypothesize that IUGR induced sub-fertility could be corrected if IUGR could be corrected by placental gene therapy.

A model of intrauterine growth retardation (rats) (uterine artery ligation) with without recombinant adenoviral mediated placental gene transfer of IGF-1 (Ad-IGF-1) administration was evaluated for effects on postnatal testes histology. Male rats were sacrificed at 36 weeks.

Various testicular histologic parameters were assessed. Uterine ligation resulted in decreased spermatocyte and sertoli cell counts compared to controls. Animals receiving IGF had counts which were significantly higher than those animals with uterine artery ligation alone.

This study demonstrated that there is a link between low birth weight and increased risk of sub-fertility in the adult male rats. Ad-IGF-1 partially corrects the fertility parameters.

Editorial comment: This a provocative study demonstrating effect of low birth weight in reproductive potential and the potentially important fact that gene therapy may be effective in ameliorating such effects.

Presented by Suzi Demirbag MD, et al., at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) - May 17 - 22, 2008. Orange County Convention Center - Orlando, Florida, USA.

Reported by UroToday Contributing Editor Harris M. Nagler, MD

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