Endocrinology Journal Article

Obesity, Neuroinflammation, and Reproductive Function

September 12, 2019

Nancy M Lainez, Djurdjica Coss
Endocrinology, Volume 160, Issue 11, November 2019, Pages 2719–2736
https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2019-00487

Abstract

The increasing occurrence of obesity has become a significant public health concern. Individuals with obesity have higher prevalence of heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and reproductive disorders. Reproductive problems include menstrual irregularities, pregnancy complications, and infertility due to anovulation, in women, and lower testosterone and diminished sperm count, in men. In particular, women with obesity have reduced levels of both gonadotropin hormones, and, in obese men, lower testosterone is accompanied by diminished LH. Taken together, these findings indicate central dysregulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis, specifically at the level of the GnRH neuron function, which is the final brain output for the regulation of reproduction. Obesity is a state of hyperinsulinemia, hyperlipidemia, hyperleptinemia, and chronic inflammation. Herein, we review recent advances in our understanding of how these metabolic and immune changes affect hypothalamic function and regulation of GnRH neurons. In the latter part, we focus on neuroinflammation as a major consequence of obesity and discuss findings that reveal that GnRH neurons are uniquely positioned to respond to inflammatory changes.

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