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High Caffeine Consumption May Explain Why Some Women Have Trouble Getting Pregnant

May 26, 2011: 07:00 AM EST
A study in mice by U.S. researchers has found that caffeine reduces muscle activity in the Fallopian tubes that carry eggs from a woman's ovaries to her womb and therefore lowers the chances of becoming pregnant. It is generally assumed that tiny hair-like projections (cilia) in the walls of the Fallopian tubes move the microscopic eggs along with the help of muscle contractions. The study found that caffeine stops the actions of specialized pacemaker cells in the tube wall that coordinate tube contractions. When that happens, eggs can't move down the tubes. The finding suggests that the effect of caffeine on the Fallopian tubes “may contribute to the documented delayed conception in women consuming caffeinated beverages,” the researchers concluded.
R.E. Dixon, et al., "Inhibitory effect of caffeine on pacemaker activity in the oviduct is mediated by cAMP-regulated conductances", British Journal of Pharmacology , May 26, 2011, © The authors
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