Researchers close in on cause of gynecological disease

October 09, 2013

For the first time, researchers have created a model that could help unlock what causes adenomyosis, a common gynecological disease that is a major contributor to women having to undergo hysterectomies.

In a two-step process, a team led by Michigan State University's Jae-Wook Jeong first identified a protein known as beta-catenin that may play a key role in the development of the disease. When activated, beta-catenin causes changes in certain cells in a woman's uterus, leading to adenomyosis.

Then Jeong, an associate professor in the College of Human Medicine's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, created a mouse model that may reveal useful targets for new treatments.

"Progress in the understanding what causes adenomyosis and finding potential drug treatments has been hampered by the lack of defined molecular mechanisms and animal models," Jeong said.

"These findings provide great insights into our understanding of the beta-catenin protein and will lead to the translation of animal models for the development of new therapeutic approaches."

The disease occurs when the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (myometrium). Symptoms of the disease include menstrual bleeding, chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Most women with the disease require surgery, and 66 percent of hysterectomies are associated with it.

"This research offers hope to the millions of women who have adenomyosis and holds promise that a cure, besides hysterectomy, is on the horizon," said Richard Leach, chairperson of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

The research results were recently published in the Journal of Pathology. The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and World Class University Program at Seoul National University in South Korea.

Leach added the study highlights the groundbreaking research being done in collaboration with other internationally renowned research centers in women's health.
-end-


Michigan State University

Related Protein Articles from Brightsurf:

The protein dress of a neuron
New method marks proteins and reveals the receptors in which neurons are dressed

Memory protein
When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

Diets high in protein, particularly plant protein, linked to lower risk of death
Diets high in protein, particularly plant protein, are associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, finds an analysis of the latest evidence published by The BMJ today.

A new understanding of protein movement
A team of UD engineers has uncovered the role of surface diffusion in protein transport, which could aid biopharmaceutical processing.

A new biotinylation enzyme for analyzing protein-protein interactions
Proteins play roles by interacting with various other proteins. Therefore, interaction analysis is an indispensable technique for studying the function of proteins.

Substituting the next-best protein
Children born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy have a mutation in the X-chromosome gene that would normally code for dystrophin, a protein that provides structural integrity to skeletal muscles.

A direct protein-to-protein binding couples cell survival to cell proliferation
The regulators of apoptosis watch over cell replication and the decision to enter the cell cycle.

A protein that controls inflammation
A study by the research team of Prof. Geert van Loo (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) has unraveled a critical molecular mechanism behind autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis.

Resurrecting ancient protein partners reveals origin of protein regulation
After reconstructing the ancient forms of two cellular proteins, scientists discovered the earliest known instance of a complex form of protein regulation.

Sensing protein wellbeing
The folding state of the proteins in live cells often reflect the cell's general health.

Read More: Protein News and Protein Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.