Later onset of puberty associated with malnutrition, earlier onset to childhood obesity

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

The timing of the onset of puberty is linked to levels of nutrition: later onset is associated with malnutrition, while earlier onset is linked to childhood obesity. A team of researchers, led by Carol Elias, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, has now generated data in mice that run counter to current thinking about the molecular pathway by which nutrition status affects the onset of puberty. Further, the team defines a new regulatory pathway for the process, which, if confirmed in humans, could potentially lead to new approaches to treating disorders of puberty and fertility.

The hormone leptin, which is produced by fat tissue, is a key signal that lets the reproductive system know that levels of nutrition are sufficient to support puberty. Several lines of data had led researchers to believe that the permissive effects of leptin on puberty were mediated indirectly, by leptin stimulating nerve cells in a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus to produce kisspeptins, small proteins that trigger the first step in the onset of puberty. However, Elias and colleagues, found no effects on puberty in mice when expression of the molecule to which leptin binds was selectively eliminated in kisspeptin-producing nerve cells in the hypothalamus. Further analysis revealed that expression of the molecule to which leptin binds in a region of the brain known as the ventral premammillary nucleus was required for leptin to exert its effects on puberty onset.

In an accompanying commentary, Rexford Ahima, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, notes that the comprehensive series of experiments carried out by Elias and colleagues provide important new insight into the regulation of puberty onset that could potentially have clinical ramifications.

AUTHOR CONTACT: Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Research quantifies impact of childhood obesity on long-term health and life expectancy