Do you suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or know someone who does? This expert talk will help to shed some light on this affliction and the latest research that is uncovering the links between the brain and the body. Come along and hear from two specialists in this area and understand more about your body.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common infertility disorder in Aotearoa and worldwide, affecting one in eight women of reproductive age. PCOS is characterised by elevated androgen hormones (such as testosterone), menstrual dysfunction, and a cyst-like appearance of the ovary. PCOS patients can also suffer from a range of other concerns, including excess body hair, acne, alopecia, obesity, depression, and sexual dysfunction. Although commonly considered a disease of the ovary, several lines of evidence now support an important role for the brain. Normal reproductive function is controlled by a complex network of cells in the brain and this network is tightly regulated by hormones that are produced by the ovary. This two-way communication between the brain and ovary is impaired in most women with PCOS.
Dr Rebecca Campbell and Dr Elodie Desroziers discuss how research in their laboratory has discovered some of the specific brain pathways that may underpin PCOS development. Using a pre-clinical model of PCOS and powerful neuroscience tools, work in the Campbell and Desroziers laboratories are beginning to understand how excess androgen impacts the female brain and the mechanisms underpinning PCOS pathology.
Dr Rebecca Campbell is an Associate Professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology. Her laboratory, formed in 2009, is focused on understanding the brain pathways that are critical for reproductive function. She employs a wide range of anatomical and functional neuroscience tools in transgenic models to better understand how brain wiring impacts function. She is passionate about understanding how the brain is involved in the common female disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Dr Elodie Desroziers is a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Council Research Fellow in the Center for Neuroendocrinology (CNE) and Department of Physiology at the University of Otago. Her research interests focus on understanding how sex hormones shape the brain in order to control fertility and sexuality in women. Since January 2021, she is leading her own research group within the CNE and Department of Physiology, where she is focusing on unravelling the role of glial cells in fertility regulation and deciphering the origin of sexual dysfunction in PCOS.