Hormones and Nerves In Female Physiology
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Estrogen triggers profound metabolic and behavioral responses to optimize female physiology. We seek to discover crucial hormone-responsive nodes in the brain and gut that maintain metabolic, skeletal, and cognitive health in female mice. Findings from our basic science research program are highly relevant to women's health.
- An ongoing project is aimed at understanding a remarkable increase in bone density after manipulating hypothalamic neurons (Herber, Krause et al, 2019). We suspect that a novel, anabolic factor is responsible for these dense, strong bones. With new funding from NIA, we will determine how the female brain controls bone metabolism and also identify this anabolic bone factor for potential treatment of osteoporosis in both sexes.
- In another project, we recently explain how surges in estrogen prior to the period of sexual receptivity increase physical activity in females (Krause et al 2019). It follows that metabolic health declines when this activity node goes "off-line" after natural or drug-induced menopause. With new funding from NIDDK, we wish to exploit this discovery to overcome declining health and physical activity associated with hormone-depletion.
- In a new project funded by NINDS and the RAININ Foundation, we wish to determine whether gut-brain signaling pathways exhibit sex-specific differences, an important question that may relate to the higher prevalence of intestinal visceral pain syndromes experienced by women.