Artificial Ovaries to Suppress the Symptoms of Menopause

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Weight gain, hot flashes, insomnia, side effects related to menopause are numerous. By ceasing to function, the ovaries dry up hormonal secretions, an imbalance responsible for these side effects. American researchers are studying a new possibility to treat these symptoms: artificial ovaries. The study, conducted at the Wake Forest Institute in North Carolina, was published in Nature Communications.

The researchers tested the artificial ovaries, made in the laboratory, on female rats whom had their ovaries previously been removed. They used tissue techniques to create ovarian tissue using two types of cells found in the ovaries, the granulosa and the theca. The artificial genitals were then implanted on the rodents. In less than a week, they started producing estrogen and progesterone.

For researchers, this system seems more effective than traditional treatments given to menopausal women. On rats, it was more effective in protecting bones, often weakened by menopause, and in weight maintenance.

Above all, as this system adjusts the dose of hormone to each woman, cardiovascular and cancer risks would be lower. There are several unknowns to be determined before proceeding to clinical trials on women, including which cells to take to make the artificial ovaries. The researchers suggest the removal of ovarian tissue from volunteers.

Angie Mahecha

Angie Mahecha, an Engineering Student at the University of Central Florida, is originally from Colombia but has been living in Florida for the past 10 Years.