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Stressed brain suppresses reproduction

23 February 2011


Professor Kevin O’Byrne’s research group in the Division of Women’s Health has highlighted the areas of the amygdalae involved in the stress-induced suppression of reproductive function.

The amygdalae, which are involved in emotional memory, are located deep within our brains, one in each hemisphere.

The group’s paper, published in Endocrinology, demonstrates that two sub-regions of the amygdalae significantly contribute to the stress-induced inhibition of reproduction. Targeted lesioning of the identified areas, knocking out their suppressive activity, was shown to reverse the decline in fertility.

A more detailed analysis of the results supports the hypothesis that different types of stressors depress the reproductive axis by activating distinct neural pathways in the brain.

Lin et al., 'The Role of the Medial and Central Amygdala in Stress-Induced Suppression of Pulsatile LH Secretion in Female Rats', can be accessed on the Endocrinology website.
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