What’s the best way to relieve the symptoms of menopause? An artificial ovary may be the answer.
“”menopause 更年期; 绝经期 “”artificial 人造的 “”ovary 卵巢
Many women experiencing menopause struggle with weight gain and a loss of bone density. Hormonal replacement therapies can help, but getting the doses wrong can raise the risk of heart disease or breast cancer.
“”hormonal 荷尔蒙的 “”dose 剂量
Emmanuel Opara at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina thinks this is because HRT is too simple; it only supplies oestrogen, progesterone or testosterone, or a combination of these. His team has created capsules of ovarian tissue that, once implanted, can supply the full range of ovarian hormones.
“”oestrogen [ˈi:strədʒən] 雌激素 “”progesterone [prəˈdʒestərəʊn]孕激素
The capsules are about half a millimetre wide and are made of layers of ovarian cells that mimic the structure of an ovarian follicle. To see if they work, the team implanted them into rats that have had their ovaries removed – a process that mimics menopause.
“”ovarian cells卵巢细胞 “”follicle 卵泡 “” implant 移植
Removing the ovaries led to a drop in oestrogen and progesterone, but soaring levels of other hormones. Giving rats HRT boosted oestrogen and progesterone but didn’t bring these other hormones down. However, rats with a bioengineered follicle had more normal levels across the range of ovarian hormones.
This seemed to benefit their health. Both groups of rats gained less fat and lost less bone mass, but the effect was stronger in those given follicles. Opara thinks these results suggest a similar implant could help women.
“This research is a significant step towards creating a bio-ovary for management of the menopause,” says Susan Davis of Monash University in Australia. But she says it may be hard to create capsules that suit each woman’s individual hormone levels.