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Sickle cell anemia is one of the most common genetic blood disorders worldwide. Individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) experience clinical manifestations such as chronic anemia, developmental delay, vaso-occlusive pain, acute chest syndrome, and neurological complications. Adolescent girls with SCD face unique gynecological challenges including delayed puberty marked by a later onset in menarche, vaso-occlusive pain associated with their menstrual cycle, and underdiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding. This review focuses on these challenges with particular emphasis on delayed menarche and vaso-occlusive pain episodes associated with menstruation, in addition to the evaluation and initial management of heavy menstrual bleeding for adolescents with SCD. We highlight research opportunities in this neglected area to help enhance the comprehensive care model for this population.
Although ovarian hormones are thought to have a potential role in the well-known sex difference in mood and anxiety disorders, the mechanisms through which ovarian hormone changes contribute to stress regulation are not well understood. One mechanism by which ovarian hormones might impact mood regulation is by mediating the effect of psychosocial stress, which often precedes depressive episodes and may have mood consequences that are particularly relevant in women. In the current study, brain activity and mood response to psychosocial stress was examined in healthy, normally cycling women at either the high or low estradiol phase of the menstrual cycle. Twenty eight women were exposed to the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST), with brain activity determined through functional magnetic resonance imaging, and behavioral response assessed with subjective mood and stress measures. Brain activity responses to psychosocial stress differed between women in the low versus high estrogen phase of the menstrual cycle: women with high estradiol levels showed significantly less deactivation in limbic regions during psychosocial stress compared to women with low estradiol levels. Additionally, women with higher estradiol levels also had less subjective distress in response to the MIST than women with lower estradiol levels. The results of this study suggest that, in normally cycling premenopausal women, high estradiol levels attenuate the brain activation changes and negative mood response to psychosocial stress. Normal ovarian hormone fluctuations may alter the impact of psychosocially stressful events by presenting periods of increased vulnerability to psychosocial stress during low estradiol phases of the menstrual cycle. This menstrual cycle-related fluctuation in stress vulnerability may be relevant to the greater risk for affective disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder in women.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
A variety of evidence suggests that, among humans, the individual tendency to choose immediate rewards ("Now") over larger, delayed rewards ("Later"), or Now bias, varies with frontal dopamine (DA) levels. As cyclic elevations in estradiol (E+) modulate other frontal DA-dependent behaviors, we tested ovarian cycle effects on Now bias, and whether any such effects are E+ mediated. To do so, we quantified Now/Later choice behavior in naturally cycling adult females (n = 87; ages 18-40 years) during both the menstrual phase (MP; cycle day 1-2; low E+), and the follicular phase (FP; cycle day 11-12; high E+). Now bias decreased an average of 3.6% from MP to FP (p = 0.006). Measures of salivary E+ levels at each visit were available in a subsample of participants (n = 34). Participants with a verified E+ rise from MP to FP showed significantly greater decreases in Now bias at mid-cycle (n = 23) than those without a rise (n = 11; p = 0.03); Now bias decreased an average of 10.2% in the E+ rise group but increased an average of 7.9% in the no E+ rise group. The change in Now bias from MP to FP inversely correlated with the change in E+ (ρ = -0.39; p = 0.023), an effect driven by individuals with putatively lower frontal DA based on genotype at the Val(158)Met polymorphism in the COMT gene. This is the first demonstration that intertemporal choice varies across the ovarian cycle, with Now bias declining at mid-cycle, when fertility peaks. Moreover, our data suggest that the interacting effects of estradiol and frontal DA mediate this cycle effect on decision making.
STUDY QUESTION - Does a differential abundance of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein in uterine fluid (UF) have a functional significance?
SUMMARY ANSWER - In rats, an excess of HMGB1 in UF during the receptive phase is detrimental to pregnancy.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY - The identification of constituents of the human uterine secretome has been a subject of renewed interest, due to the advent of high throughput proteomic technologies. Proteomic-based investigations of human UF have revealed the presence of several proteins such as mucins, host defense proteins S100, heat shock protein 27 and haptoglobin, etc. The present study reports on the presence of HMGB1, a nuclear protein, in human UF. Activated macrophages/monocytes, natural killer cells, mature dendritic cells, pituicytes and erythroleukemic cells are also known to secrete HMGB1. Existing data suggest that extracellular HMGB1 plays a role in inflammation.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION - The human part of this study was cross-sectional in design. UF and endometrial tissues were collected from regularly cycling women in the early secretory (i.e. pre-receptive phase, Day 2 post-ovulation, n = 7) or secretory phase (i.e. receptive phase, Day 6 post-ovulation, n = 7) of their menstrual cycles. Samples were also collected from cycling rats in the proestrous (n = 8) or metestrous (n = 8) phase of their estrous cycles. Uteri were also collected from HMGB1-treated pregnant (n = 7) and untreated pseudo-pregnant (n = 7) rats and from pregnant rats at Day 3-5 post-coitum (p.c.) (n = 18, 3 each for six-time points).
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS - In each group of human samples, four samples were used for isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) analysis and three samples were used for immunoblotting experiments to determine the abundance of HMGB1 in pre-receptive and receptive phase UF samples. HMGB1 levels in rat UF and endometrial tissue samples were estimated by ELISA and immunohistochemical studies, respectively. The expression of inflammation-associated molecules, such as nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGEs), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in HMGB1-treated and pseudo-pregnant rats.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE - HMGB1 was identified as one of the differentially abundant proteins in the list generated by 8-plex iTRAQ analysis of receptive and pre-receptive phase UF samples. In both humans and rats, secreted and cellular levels of HMGB1 showed a similar pattern, i.e. significantly (P < 0.05) lower abundance in the receptive phase compared with that in the pre-receptive phase. A significant (P < 0.05) decline was also observed in the endometrial expression of HMGB1 on the day of implantation in pregnant rats. Exogenous administration of recombinant HMGB1, on Day 3 p.c., led to pregnancy failure, whereas administration of recombinant leukemia inhibitory factor or saline had no effect on pregnant rats. Further investigations revealed morphological changes in the endometrium, an increase in the expression of luminal epithelial NFκB and significantly (P < 0.05) higher expression levels of endometrial RAGE, TNF-α and IL-6 in HMGB1-treated rats, compared with untreated pseudo-pregnant rats.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION - The mechanisms, contributing to a decline in the cellular and extracellular levels of HMGB1 during the receptive phase, remain to be ascertained.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS - An excess of HMGB1 in the UF may be associated with infertility in women.
OBJECTIVES - Perimenopause significantly impacts women's health, but is under-researched due to challenges in assessing perimenopause status. Using CARDIA data, we compared the validity of six approaches for classifying perimenopause status in order to better understand the performance of classification techniques which can be applied to general cohort data. Specifically, we examined the validity of a self-reported question concerning changes in menstrual cycle length and two full prediction models using all available data concerning menstrual cycles as potential indicators of perimenopause. The validity of these three novel methods of perimenopause classification were compared to three previously established classification methods.
METHODS - For each method, women were classified as pre- or peri-menopausal at Year 15 of follow-up (ages 32-46). Year 15 perimenopause status was then used to predict Year 20 post-menopausal status (yes/no) to estimate measures of validity and area under the curve.
RESULTS - The validity of the methods varied greatly, with four having an area under the curve greater than 0.8.
CONCLUSIONS - When designing studies, researchers should collect the data required to construct a prediction model for classifying perimenopause status that includes age, smoking status, vasomotor symptoms, and cycle irregularities as predictors. The inclusion of additional data regarding menstrual cycles can be used to construct a full prediction model which may offer improved validity. Valid classification methods that use readily available data are needed to improve the scientific accuracy of research regarding perimenopause, promote research on this topic, and inform clinical practices.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - The aim of this article is to summarize the recommended updates to the 2001 Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop (STRAW) criteria. The 2011 STRAW +10 reviewed advances in understanding of the critical changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian function that occur before and after the final menstrual period.
METHODS - Scientists from five countries and multiple disciplines evaluated data from cohort studies of midlife women and in the context of chronic illness and endocrine disorders on change in menstrual, endocrine, and ovarian markers of reproductive aging including antimüllerian hormone, inhibin-B, follicle-stimulating hormone, and antral follicle count. Modifications were adopted by consensus.
RESULTS - STRAW +10 simplified bleeding criteria for the early and late menopausal transition, recommended modifications to criteria for the late reproductive stage (Stage -3) and the early postmenopause stage (Stage +1), provided information on the duration of the late transition (Stage -1) and early postmenopause (Stage +1), and recommended application regardless of women's age, ethnicity, body size, or lifestyle characteristics.
CONCLUSIONS - STRAW +10 provides a more comprehensive basis for assessing reproductive aging in research and clinical contexts. Application of the STRAW +10 staging system should improve comparability of studies of midlife women and facilitate clinical decision making. Nonetheless, important knowledge gaps persist, and seven research priorities are identified.
Outcome-dependent sampling (ODS) study designs are commonly implemented with rare diseases or when prospective studies are infeasible. In longitudinal data settings, when a repeatedly measured binary response is rare, an ODS design can be highly efficient for maximizing statistical information subject to resource limitations that prohibit covariate ascertainment of all observations. This manuscript details an ODS design where individual observations are sampled with probabilities determined by an inexpensive, time-varying auxiliary variable that is related but is not equal to the response. With the goal of validly estimating marginal model parameters based on the resulting biased sample, we propose a semi-parametric, sequential offsetted logistic regressions (SOLR) approach. The SOLR strategy first estimates the relationship between the auxiliary variable and the response and covariate data by using an offsetted logistic regression analysis where the offset is used to adjust for the biased design. Results from the auxiliary variable model are then combined with the known or estimated sampling probabilities to formulate a second offset that is used to correct for the biased design in the ultimate target model relating the longitudinal binary response to covariates. Because the target model offset is estimated with SOLR, we detail asymptotic standard error estimates that account for uncertainty associated with the auxiliary variable model. Motivated by an analysis of the BioCycle Study (Gaskins et al., Effect of daily fiber intake on reproductive function: the BioCycle Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009; 90(4): 1061-1069) that aims to describe the relationship between reproductive health (determined by luteinizing hormone levels) and fiber consumption, we examine properties of SOLR estimators and compare them with other common approaches.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
BACKGROUND - Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a disorder characterized by excessive orthostatic tachycardia and significant functional disability. We previously reported that POTS patients have low blood volume and inappropriately low plasma renin activity (PRA) and aldosterone. In this study, we sought to more fully characterize the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) to gain a better understanding of the pathophysiology of POTS.
OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to prospectively assess the plasma levels of angiotensin (Ang) peptides and their relationship to other RAAS components in patients with POTS compared with healthy controls.
METHODS - Heart rate, PRA, Ang I, Ang II, Ang (1-7), and aldosterone were measured in POTS patients (n = 38) and healthy controls (n = 13) while they were consuming a sodium-controlled diet.
RESULTS - POTS patients had larger orthostatic increases in heart rate than did controls (52 ± 3 [mean ± SEM] bpm vs 27 ± 6 bpm, P = .001). Plasma Ang II was significantly higher in POTS patients (43 ± 3 pg/mL vs 28 ± 3 pg/mL, P = .006), whereas plasma Ang I and angiotensin 1-7 [Ang-(1-7)] were similar between groups. Despite the twofold increase of Ang II, POTS patients trended to lower PRA levels than did controls (0.9 ± 0.1 ng/mL/h vs 1.6 ± 0.5 ng/mL/h, P = .268) and lower aldosterone levels (4.6 ± 0.8 pg/mL vs 10.0 ± 3.0 pg/mL, P = .111). Estimated angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) activity was significantly lower in POTS patients than in controls (0.25 ± 0.02 vs 0.33 ± 0.03, P = .038).
CONCLUSION - Some patients with POTS have inappropriately high plasma Ang II levels, with low estimated ACE2 activity. We propose that these abnormalities in Ang regulation may play a key role in the pathophysiology of POTS in some patients.
Copyright © 2011 Heart Rhythm Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - The objective of the study was to characterize the variations in normal cervical spectra because of menopausal status and location within the menstrual cycle. Using the information obtained, the accuracy of Raman spectroscopy to diagnose low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LGSIL) will be improved.
STUDY DESIGN - A total of 133 patients undergoing either colposcopy or Papanicolaou smear were recruited from either Vanderbilt University or Tri-State Women's Health. Raman spectra were collected from both normal and diseased areas. The data were processed and analyzed using a multiclass discrimination and classification algorithm to determine whether the spectra were correctly classified.
RESULTS - Stratifying the data by menopausal state resulted in correctly classifying LGSIL 97% of the time (from 74%).
CONCLUSION - This study brings Raman spectroscopy one step closer to clinical use by improving the sensitivity to differentiate LGSIL from normal.
OBJECTIVE - We assessed colposcopically observed vascular changes occurring in the cervix in relation to cyclical hormonal variation in healthy women.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Thirty women with regular menstrual cycles and willing to remain sexually abstinent during a menstrual cycle were enrolled. Colposcopy was performed during the peak of the estrogen and progesterone levels.
RESULTS - The mean (+/-SD) diameter of the largest visible blood vessel differed significantly between the estrogenic phase (0.38 +/- 0.14 mm) as compared with the progestogenic phase (0.47 +/- 0.12 mm; p <.01). The blood vessels were more prominent and dense and had a well-defined outline during the progestogenic phase than the estrogenic phase; however, these differences were not statistically significant. There was borderline increase in the interleukin 8 level during the estrogenic phase.
CONCLUSIONS - Physiological changes of increased vascularity of the cervix observed colposcopically during the progestogenic phase are normal. If such changes do not correspond to the menstrual cycle phase in women using vaginal microbicides in early-phase clinical trials, presence of inflammatory markers should be evaluated. Elevated interleukin 8 during the estrogenic phase needs further evaluation.