New Estrogen Source Discovered

A new discovery in the newly created Center for Research in Reproduction and Infertility has revealed a previously unknown site of estrogen synthesis.

A new discovery in the newly created Center for Research in Reproduction and Infertility has revealed a previously unknown site of estrogen synthesis. Though the ovaries produce estrogen, research showed that embryos in mice with the ovaries removed still implanted successfully, suggesting the presence of estrogen produced in a different site. Looking for another source of estrogen, the researchers found an enzyme, P450 aromatase, in uterine tissues that converts testosterone to estrogen. Inhibiting this enzyme prevented implantation and blocked the critical differentiation and remodeling of uterine cells as well as vessel development. This newly discovered source of estrogen as a critical control mechanism explains several phenomena, including the inability of mice missing the aromatase gene to become pregnant even when supplied extra estrogen. The findings, published by lead author Amrita Das, a graduate student in Vet Biosciences, appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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July 21, 2009 All News