Reproductive cycle may foreshadow Alzheimer's disease

December 03, 2018

Female mice destined to develop Alzheimer's-like pathology and related cognitive impairments display a unique pattern of fluctuation in sex hormones during the ovarian cycle, finds new research published in eNeuro. This study suggests the natural reproductive cycle may provide a new window into Alzheimer's Disease (AD) risk among young women.

AD begins to develop decades before the first clinical symptoms emerge. This means the disease may already be progressing during a woman's reproductive years. Dena Dubal and colleagues asked whether the hormones -- specifically estrogen -- released during the natural ovarian cycle promote disease progression in at-risk individuals.

Despite similarities in cycle length and fertility, the researchers found AD model mice spent a greater portion of time in stages with high estrogen levels than control mice. These stages were associated with impaired learning and memory and abnormal activity in AD-affected brain regions. The researchers also observed a sharp increase in beta-amyloid production during one of the high-estrogen stages. These findings emphasize the importance of incorporating female biology into the study of nervous system disorders.
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Article: Ovarian cycle stages modulate Alzheimer-related cognitive and brain network alterations in female mice
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0132-17.2018
Corresponding author: Dena Dubal (University of California, San Francisco, USA), dena.dubal@ucsf.edu

About eNeuro

eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience's open-access journal launched in 2014, publishes rigorous neuroscience research with double-blind peer review that masks the identity of both the authors and reviewers, minimizing the potential for implicit biases. eNeuro is distinguished by a broader scope and balanced perspective achieved by publishing negative results, failure to replicate or replication studies. New research, computational neuroscience, theories and methods are also published.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

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