Navigation Links
PET scans reveal estrogen-producing hotspots in human brain
Date:11/3/2010

UPTON, NY - A study at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has demonstrated that a molecule "tagged" with a radioactive form of carbon can be used to image aromatase, an enzyme responsible for the production of estrogen, in the human brain. The research, published in the November issue of Synapse, also uncovered that the regions of the brain where aromatase is concentrated may be unique to humans.

"The original purpose of the study was to expand our use of this radiotracer, N-methyl-11C vorozole," said Anat Biegon, a Brookhaven neurobiologist. "Proving that a radiotracer like vorozole can be used for brain-imaging studies in humans would be a gateway to new research on estrogen in the brain. You cannot look at these brain pathways in living humans in any other way."

Vorozole binds to aromatase, an essential catalyst in the biosynthesis of estrogen. Since estrogen is implicated in a range of conditions and pathologies, from breast cancer to Alzheimer's disease, studying its production in the human body using noninvasive imaging techniques like positron emission tomography (PET) can be a useful diagnostic and investigative tool. This is the first study to demonstrate that vorozole is a useful radiotracer for studying estrogen-producing hotspots in the human brain.

The team used PET to scan the brains of six young, healthy nonsmoking subjects - three men and three women. Researchers scanned the female subjects at either the midcycle or early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, to incorporate variation in plasma estrogen levels. Prior to the scans, all subjects received an injection containing a radiolabeled form of vorozole, synthesized and purified by radiochemists at Brookhaven. The men underwent a second scan after being administered an aromatase inhibitor.

As expected, subjects who received the inhibitor showed low concentrations of radioactive vorozole, indicating lower availability of aromatase, compared to those not exposed to the inhibitor.

The scientists found a surprise, however, in the "geographical" (anatomical) distribution of aromatase in the brain. The highest levels of aromatase appeared in the thalamus and then the medulla, in a pattern that was consistent across all six subjects. This differs from what researchers have observed previously in animal studies, where aromatase is concentrated in smaller regions, principally the amygdala and preoptic areas.

"This started as a simple tool development study and now it's turned out to be much more interesting than that," Biegon said. "The question that's raised is what is aromatase doing in these particular brain regions?"

To answer this, Biegon and her colleagues have already begun studying a larger group of 30 subjects. They will examine differences in brain aromatase related to a range of factors including age, sex, personality, and memory. Beginning with healthy subjects and advancing to patients with specific conditions and diseases, they intend to study the role of estrogen in the brain with respect to disorders and diseases such as unusual aggression, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study of severe asthma using CT scans
2. CT scans reveal that dinosaurs were airheads
3. New discovery may enhance MRI scans, lead to portable MRI machines
4. X-ray crystallography reveals structure of precursor to blood-clotting protein
5. Lead poisoning maps in R.I. reveal huge disparities, guide cleanup
6. Scientists reveal the sex wars of the truffle grounds
7. Devastating impact of spinal osteoporotic fractures revealed on World Osteoporosis Day
8. Optical technique reveals unnexpected complexity in mammalian olfactory coding
9. Genomic comparison of ocean microbes reveals East-West divide in populations
10. Study reveals cancer-linked epigenetic effects of smoking
11. UW-built device reveals invisible world teeming with microscopic algae
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader ... United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued ... linking of an iris image with a face image ... the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... scaffold technology, today announced the election of Paul Hermes, Entrepreneur in Residence at ... , Biorez has developed a proprietary, tissue-engineered scaffold for anterior cruciate ligament ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc. , ... a provider of whole slide imaging solutions, are hosting a pre-conference workshop at ... “Successfully Deploying a Best-in-Class Strategy for Digital Pathology,” will feature Proscia CEO, David ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... the most dangerous step of sample prep for metals digestion—the addition of acids ... at an affordable price. The system is ideal for any laboratory performing their ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... One of ... to be eliminated, said Lyle Probst, President, CEO and Founder of ExcitePCR ... than other pathogen detection solutions, Probst said, “Sample preparation takes place inside our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: