We focus on the molecular link between androgen excess and the development of reproductive disorders, obesity, and type-2 diabetes in females. Our overall aim is to investigate new treatments and identify the underlying mechanisms that improves or protect against the development of diabetes and decreased fertility. My line of research has evolved from more than 10 years of experience in whole-animal physiology studies involving endocrinology, metabolism and re-production.
Obesity decreases fertility outcomes and increases the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also have impaired fertility and increased risk of developing obesity and diabetes. Mothers with PCOS, obesity or gestational diabetes frequently deliver babies born large or small for gestational age, who are susceptible to develop metabolic, reproductive and behavioral dysfunction later in life. We have published similar findings in mice where diet-induced obesity and androgen exposure during pregnancy cause reproductive, behavioral and metabolic dysfunction in offspring.
Adiponectin secreted from adipose tissue improves insulin sensitivity and whole-body metabolism but its role in reproductive function and behavior is under explored. In a recent study we show that adiponectin overexpression prevents the development of metabolic disorders in PCOS-like mice but have only minor effects on reproductive functions. Adiponectin act on the placenta during pregnancy and this fact allows for the interesting possibility that adiponectin can exert endocrine effects on the developing fetus and protect against the effects of obesity and androgen exposure on the offspring. Therefore, we aim to test the hypothesis that elevated levels of adiponectin affects fertility, prevents the development of gestational diabetes and thereby protects against fetal overgrowth by preventing excess nutrient and androgen transport to the fetus,
which in turn will prevent the development of metabolic, reproductive and behavioral alterations.
During pregnancy women with PCOS display high circulating androgen levels that may affect the fetus and increase the risk of mood disorders. Over 60% of women with PCOS are diagnosed with at least one psychiatric disorder. The aim is to deeper understand adiponectin’s effects on reproductive functions, gestational diabetes and behavioral effects in the offspring. Our long-term goal is to identify an adiponectin-based therapy that improves offspring´s health and reduces the need of ovulation induction and insulin sensitizing drugs in obese and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).