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Unravelling the role of glial cells in fertility regulation

48 months
Approved budget:
Dr Elodie Desroziers
Professor Rebecca Campbell
Dr Andrew Clarkson
Health issue:
Reproduction/fertility/sexual health
Proposal type:
Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship
Lay summary
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common infertility disorder affecting 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in New Zealand and worldwide. PCOS is characterised by the presence of at least two of three diagnostic criteria: elevated androgen hormones, menstrual dysfunction, and multiple cyst-like follicles in the ovary. Although commonly considered an ovarian disorder, the brain is now a prime suspect in both the development and maintenance of PCOS. Glial cells outnumbered neurons by 10 to 1 in the human brain. Traditionally glial cells have been considered to be passive contributors to brain function resulting in a pronounced neurocentric bias among neuroendocrinologists. To date, no study has investigated a potential role of glial cells in fertility disorders such as PCOS. Therefore, I propose here to unravel the role of glia in physiological regulation of fertility and in the pathological anovulatory disorder polycystic ovary syndrome.