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Research sheds light on how testosterone regulates female reproduction

April 7, 2017

Androgens such as testosterone are best known for promoting the development of the male reproductive system, as well as muscles and body hair. Androgens are also present in women and play a role in female reproduction and infertility, but the exact mechanism is unclear.

Dr. Benjamin Tsang and his team have found that a protein called RING (Really Interesting New Gene) Finger 6 may play an important role in this. They found that the active form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, increase the amount of RING finger 6 in rat ovaries, and this helps start a molecular cascade that results in release of an egg. They also show that this system is very sensitive to the amount of testosterone and when it appears during ovary growth and egg development.

This research could improve our understanding of polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of infertility in women which is associated with high androgen levels.

See Endocrinology for details.

Authors: Lim JJ, Han CY, Lee DR Tsang BK.

Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Research Foundation of Korea

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