In females, the mid-cycle surge in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion triggers ovulation. This neuroendocrine process is mediated by a population of neurons in the preoptic area that produce the neuropeptide kisspeptin and drive the activity of GnRH neurons for the surge. In female rodents, and possibly in other species, the preovulatory surge is timed to precede the onset of activity to ensure that ovulation coincides with sexual behavior. In this presentation, I will focus on the regulation of preoptic area kisspeptin neuron activity by the central circadian clock.
Dr. Shuo Xiao, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Rutgers University and a principal investigator in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) at Rutgers, will discuss his lab’s utilization of a unique 3D in-vitro ovarian follicle culture system that phenotypically and mechanistically recapitulates in-vivo ovarian functions. This exciting model serves as a powerful new tool to study ovarian biology, reproductive toxicology, and fertility preservation.
Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), or the early cessation of ovarian function, can be caused by a disease or by the iatrogenic effects of a chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Restoration of ovarian function through a tissue engineered transplant intends to restore fertility and ovarian hormones and alleviate co-morbidities of POI, such as those that affect the cardiovascular, brain and bone health. We will describe or ongoing research to decipher the ovarian microenvironment across developmental, spatial, and temporal axes. We aim to understand the role of biochemical and physical cues on folliculogenesis to better inform the ideal microenvironment and future regenerative therapies.