Many women experience menopausal changes in their body including hot flashes, moodiness and fatigue, but the changes they don’t notice can be more dangerous.
In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered significant changes in the brain’s vascular system when the ovaries stop producing estrogen. MU scientists predict that currently used estrogen-based hormone therapies may complicate this process and may do more harm than good in postmenopausal women.
"Before menopause, women are much more protected from certain conditions such as heart disease and stroke, but these vascular changes might explain why women lose this protection after menopause," said Olga Glinskii, research assistant professor of medical pharmacology and physiology in MU’s School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “Because the body eventually will naturally adapt to the loss of estrogen, we advise extreme caution when using estrogen-based therapy in postmenopausal women.”
In their study, MU researchers removed the ovaries of pigs, which have a reproductive cycle similar to humans, to create postmenopausal conditions. Two months after the ovaries were removed, they observed dramatic differences in the brain’s vascular system. There was a huge loss of micro vessels, and blood vessels became “leaky.”
“Eventually, however, the body starts to recognize that it needs blood vessels and starts to adapt through natural responses,” said Vladislav Glinskii, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences in MU’s School of Medicine, research health scientist at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital and co-senior author of the study. “If we start adding estrogen to a system that is learning to adapt without it, we upset this transition process. What happens to the vascular system during menopause is complex on many different levels, and we do not know enough to determine the best way to use hormone therapy.
Before menopause, the vascular system depends on estrogen for maintenance. When the body decreases its estrogen production, the body is unable to regulate blood vessels like it did before. After a period of deterioration, the body learns to adapt to the estrogen loss and eventually maintains the system in a different way.
“The vascular system is like a roadmap that is always changing,” said Virginia Huxley, director of the National Center for Gender Physiology, professor of medical pharmacology and physiology in MU’s School of Medicine, and co-senior author of the study. “The blood vessels are the highways that transport oxygen and other nutrients in our body. After menopause, women are more likely to develop vascular diseases in the ‘side streets’ or the tiny vessels. In these vessels, the symptoms are more subtle and harder to identify.”
The study “PDGF/VEGF System Activation and Angiogenesis Following Initial Post Ovariectomy Meningeal Microvessel Loss,” was recently published in Cell Cycle.
Kelsey Jackson | EurekAlert!
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy