Navigation Links
New OHSU research helps explain early-onset puberty in females

BEAVERTON, Ore. - New research from Oregon Health & Science University has provided significant insight into the reasons why early-onset puberty occurs in females. The research, which was conducted at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center, is published in the current early online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The paper explains how OHSU scientists are investigating the role of epigenetics in the control of puberty. Epigenetics refers to changes in gene activity linked to external factors that do not involve changes to the genetic code itself. The OHSU scientists believe improved understanding of these complex protein/gene interactions will lead to greater understanding of both early-onset (precocious) puberty and delayed puberty, and highlight new therapy avenues.

To conduct this research, scientists studied female rats, which like their human counterparts, go through puberty as part of their early aging process. These studies revealed that a group of proteins, called PcG proteins, regulate the activity of a gene called the Kiss1 gene, which is required for puberty to occur. When these PcG proteins diminish, Kiss1 is activated and puberty begins.

PcG proteins are produced by another set of genes that act as a biological switch during the embryonic stage of life. The role of these proteins is to turn off specific downstream genes at key developmental stages.

OHSU scientists found that both the activity of these "master" genes and their ability to turn off puberty are impacted by two forms of epigenetic control: a chemical modification of DNA known as DNA methylation, and changes in the composition of histones, a specialized set of proteins that modify gene activity by interacting with DNA.

Using this new information, researchers were then able to delay puberty in female rats. They accomplished this by increasing PcG protein levels in the hypothalamus of the brain using a targeted gene therapy approach so that Kiss1 activation failed to occur at the normal time in life. The hypothalamus is a region of the brain that controls reproductive development.

"While it was always understood that an organism's genes determine the timing of puberty, the role of epigenetics in this process has never been recorded until now," said Alejandro Lomniczi, Ph.D., a scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the OHSU Oregon National Primate Research Center.

"Because epigenetic changes are driven by environmental, metabolic and cell-to-cell influences, these findings raise the possibility that a significant percentage of precocious and delayed puberty cases occurring in humans may be the result of environmental factors and other alterations in epigenetic control," said Sergio Ojeda, D.V.M, who is also a scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the OHSU ONPRC.

"There is also much more to be learned about the way that epigenetic factors may link environmental factors such as nutrition, man-made chemicals, social interactions and other day-today influences to the timing and completion of normal puberty."

Contact: Jim Newman
Oregon Health & Science University

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers find gene that turns up effect of chemotherapy
2. Cycle Technologies Announces New Research on Why Having a Plan for Your Fertile Days is Key to Successful Use of Their Natural Birth Control Method - CycleBeads®
3. Mainz University Medical Center receives further DFG funding for cardiovascular research
4. Research: Military women may have higher risk for STIs
5. Israeli researchers to participate in European Commission flagship
6. University of Tennessee researcher finds first time could predict sexual satisfaction
7. Chocolate Production in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated
8. Third Cohort of NLN Jonas Scholars Pursue Doctoral Research in Nursing Education with $75,000 Grant
9. Fish and Seafood Markets in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated
10. UAlberta researcher pinpoints prescription for successful Primary Care Networks
11. Tumor cells engineer acidity to drive cell invasion, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers say
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... The Catalent Applied Drug Delivery Institute today ... dose form selection in early phase drug development. The first of these is ... together the UK’s emerging life sciences companies, corporate partners, and investors, at Milton ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... PRMA Plastic Surgery is updating ... our surgeons performed their 6,000th free flap breast reconstruction surgery! , “What an accomplishment ... day excited to rebuild lives and it’s an honor to have served all of ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios brings Final Cut ... Vintage. This newly styled ProTrailer pack comes with 30 all-new vintage-inspired designs, with ... users limitless opportunities to stylize and create designs quickly and easily, all within ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer ... of an application server to improve system efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite ... of these standards, the system avoids locking itself into a specific piece of software ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... As part of a global ... attracts volunteers together who want to combine talents and resources to help create ... the process. The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on November 6, 2015 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country ... report to their offering. --> ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ... Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, ... Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ... Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> --> This ... the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: