Navigation Links
FSU study takes novel approach to understanding pituitary function
Date:8/3/2010

A Florida State University biologist and mathematician have joined forces to find out exactly how the brain oversees the secretion of the hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland, research that could lead to new ways to treat hundreds of disorders, including infertility.

Marc Freeman, the Lloyd M. Beidler Professor of Biological Science and Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, and mathematics Professor Richard Bertram have received a $2.64 million, five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue their work. Arturo E. Gonzalez-Iglesias and Joel Tabak-Sznajder, both assistant scholar/scientists in biology at FSU, are working on experimental and mathematical aspects of the project as co-principal investigators.

"We're taking a mathematical approach to answer a biological question," Freeman said, explaining that he and his colleagues have developed a mathematical model to help them find out more about how an important area of the brain, the hypothalamus, oversees the secretion of prolactin. Primarily known for its role in stimulating the mammary gland to produce milk, prolactin actually plays a role in more than 300 functions in addition to those involving reproduction.

The researchers are testing their theory that secretion of prolactin is inhibited by dopamine and stimulated by oxytocin. In addition, the researchers hypothesize that the activities of these neurons are regulated by the hypothalamus and prolactin itself.

"There are two-way interactions here, with the hypothalamus releasing neurohormones like dopamine and oxytocin that act on pituitary cells and the pituitary cells releasing hormones that act on neurons of the hypothalamus," Bertram said. "These hormones and neurohormones are carried by the blood in contrast to communication by the brain itself, which is primarily carried by neurotransmitters released by synapses."

Freeman, who has received continuous NIH funding since 1974 for his research into how the hypothalamus regulates the pituitary gland in the control of reproduction, said it has long been known that dopamine produced by the hypothalamus inhibits prolactin secretion. However, in the case of breastfeeding, a nursing baby will provide enough prolactin-releasing stimuli to inhibit the mother's dopamine so that she can produce prolactin and subsequently breast milk. About 20 years ago, Freeman found that oxytocin could also stimulate prolactin secretion.

Clarifying the role and mechanisms through which oxytocin interacts with dopamine to regulate prolactin secretion has important ramifications for the treatment of disorders, including infertility, related to prolactin's hundreds of biological actions, Freeman said.

For example, the findings could lead to the development of a new way to suppress elevated levels of prolactin that are produced by prolactinomas, which are noncancerous pitituary tumors. Women who have prolactinomas have such high levels of prolactin that it inhibits ovulation and they are unable to conceive. Drugs currently used to treat these tumors have serious negative side effects, Freeman said.

Adding a mathematician to the research team has allowed Freeman to look at his ongoing work from a new angle. He began collaborating with Bertram in 2003, with Bertram writing mathematical equations that simulated Freeman's biological data.

Traditionally, biologists develop a conceptual model of how things interact and use this conceptual model to design and interpret experiments, Bertram explained. Typically, this is a verbal model, complemented with a "box-and-arrows" diagram showing the biological players and their interactions. A mathematical model converts the diagram into differential equations, which describe how things affect each other and change over time.

"With a mathematical model, it is much easier to see if hypotheses can possibly work, and to make predictions that can be tested in the lab," Bertram said. "Another benefit of the mathematical model is that it points out missing information things that are required for the equations but are often overlooked in box-and-arrows diagrams."


'/>"/>

Contact: Marc E. Freeman
freeman@neuro.fsu.edu
850-644-3896
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. When memory-related region of brain is damaged, other areas compensate, study finds
2. Heart Health Can Help Predict Brain Health: Study
3. SIDS surprise: Study finds that infant boys are more easily aroused from sleep than girls
4. Pilot study supports adolescent diabetes patients through personalized text messages
5. Most youth hockey injuries caused by accidents, not checking, UB study shows
6. Study finds respiratory symptoms more reliable indicator of H1N1, not fever alone
7. Researchers study benefits of white button mushrooms
8. Vaccine Boosts Survival for Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer: Study
9. Nearly 1 in 5 Californians report need for mental health services, study finds
10. Study: Weight issues move up need for walkers, canes, other devices
11. UNC physician authors editorial on cost-effectiveness study for colon cancer screening
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
FSU study takes novel approach to understanding pituitary function
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional ... action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. ... a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission ... lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” ... the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... WAUSAU, Wis. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... formulated standard products to meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities ... team of probiotic experts and tested to meet the highest standard. , ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, ... a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, ... hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the nation's first interactive health literacy software tool, and the Cancer Patient Education ... of cancer patient education, today announce a new strategic alliance. , As ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised ... reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers ... intake and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled ... December 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will ... http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion to personalized service, ... as number one in the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 ... 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has found its ... will soon be honored by SFBJ as the 2017 ... Set to receive his award in October, Bardisa said ...
(Date:9/25/2017)...  EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the fields ... announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., a ... cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in seed ... technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. Gad ... as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over 25 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: