OHSU scientists identify key gene that delays female puberty

October 24, 2004

SAN DIEGO - Researchers at the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) have identified a key gene that impacts the timing of puberty and can shorten the time span for reproduction. The research was led by Sergio Ojeda, Ph.D., head of the Division of Neuroscience and a senior scientist at ONPRC. The work will be presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting on Oct 24, 2004 by Claudio Mastronardi, the lead author of the report.

"Using a mouse model, our lab has determined that the absence in the brain's hypothalamus of a gene called TTF-1 causes a delay in the onset of female puberty," explained Ojeda. "This work is of particular interest to those investigating both the delay and early onset of puberty in young women. While there is no definitive information, recently a number of research papers have been published suggesting that young women are reaching puberty at an earlier age. Other research has suggested that if this is the case, it may be linked to the nation's obesity crisis."

Prior to the research to be reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting, Ojeda's group performed studies with rats showing that the TTF-1 gene is expressed in a discrete cellular subset of the hypothalamus during sexual development. Then, using a genome-wide approach, they determined that expression of the TTF-1 gene increases in the hypothalamus of nonhuman primates at the onset of puberty.

To conduct this latest research, Ojeda and his colleagues teamed up with Shioko Kimura, Ph.D., at the National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute to study mice in which the TTF-1 gene had been deleted selectively from neurons. They then tracked development of these animals in comparison with a control group of wild-type littermate mice. The researchers found that animals lacking this gene exhibited delayed puberty. The mice lacking TTF-1 also had fewer litters, had fewer pups in each litter, and their reproductive time span was half that of a normal animal.

Ojeda and his colleagues now are tracking other genes that might interact with TTF-1 in the brain to control the onset of puberty.

"While observational studies are required to determine the role of TTF-1 in humans, we know that children recently described to have mutations of this gene suffer from loss of motor coordination and alterations in fluid balance," said Ojeda. "It will be important to continue observing these patients to determine whether they also witness a delay in the onset of puberty."
-end-
OHSU includes the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and science and engineering; OHSU Hospital and Doernbecher Children's Hospital; numerous primary care and specialty clinics; multiple research institutes; and several outreach and community service units.

The ONPRC is a registered research institution, inspected regularly by the United States Department of Agriculture. It operates in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and has an assurance of regulatory compliance on file with the National Institutes of Health. The ONPRC also participates in the voluntary accreditation program overseen by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).

Oregon Health & Science University

Related Neuroscience Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers rebuild the bridge between neuroscience and artificial intelligence
In an article in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers reveal that they have successfully rebuilt the bridge between experimental neuroscience and advanced artificial intelligence learning algorithms.

The evolution of neuroscience as a research
When the first issue of the JDR was published, the field of neuroscience did not exist but over subsequent decades neuroscience has emerged as a scientific field that has particular relevance to dentistry.

Diabetes-Alzheimer's link explored at Neuroscience 2019
Surprising links exist between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and researchers are beginning to unpack the pathology that connects the two.

Organoid research revealed at Neuroscience 2019
Mini-brains, also called organoids, may offer breakthroughs in clinical research by allowing scientists to study human brain cells without a human subject.

The neuroscience of autism: New clues for how condition begins
UNC School of Medicine scientists found that a gene mutation linked to autism normally works to organize the scaffolding of brain cells called radial progenitors necessary for the orderly formation of the brain.

Harnessing reliability for neuroscience research
Neuroscientists are amassing the large-scale datasets needed to study individual differences and identify biomarkers.

Blue Brain solves a century-old neuroscience problem
In a front-cover paper published in Cerebral Cortex, EPFL's Blue Brain Project, a Swiss Brain Research Initiative, explains how the shapes of neurons can be classified using mathematical methods from the field of algebraic topology.

Characterizing pig hippocampus could improve translational neuroscience
Researchers have taken further steps toward developing a superior animal model of neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury and epilepsy, according to a study of miniature pigs published in eNeuro.

The neuroscience of human vocal pitch
Among primates, humans are uniquely able to consciously control the pitch of their voices, making it possible to hit high notes in singing or stress a word in a sentence to convey meaning.

Study tackles neuroscience claims to have disproved 'free will'
For several decades, some researchers have argued that neuroscience studies prove human actions are driven by external stimuli -- that the brain is reactive and free will is an illusion.

Read More: Neuroscience News and Neuroscience 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.