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Two-In-One Treatment Targets Multiple Menopausal Symptoms

An antibody that blocks follicle-stimulating hormone reduces both bone loss and fat tissue volume in mice

Janelle Weaver, Contributor
Tuesday, June 27, 2017


3-D structure of follicle-stimulating hormone (A chain green, B chain orange) complexed with follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (blue).

Public Domain image created by Q.R.Fan and W.A.Hendrickson via Wikimedia Commons. Reference: Nature, 433, 269-277 (2005)


Many women in the midst of menopause know all too well that this stage of life is accompanied by bone loss and a build-up of visceral fat—a type of abdominal fat that has been linked to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Unfortunately, estrogen replacement therapy does not always stop bone loss and fat accumulation—a problem compounded by the lack of safe and effective anti-obesity drugs.

In a study published May 24 in the journal Nature, co-senior study author Mone Zaidi and colleagues at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and the Maine Medical Center Research Institute provide evidence in mice that obesity and osteoporosis could be simultaneously treated by targeting follicle-stimulating hormone. The hormone promotes the growth of ovarian follicles and increases at menopause in response to ovarian failure.

Zaidi and colleagues previously generated an antibody that binds to and blocks the action of follicle-stimulating hormone, demonstrating that it prevents bone loss in mice. In the new study, the researchers further show that this antibody sharply reduces the volume of both visceral and subcutaneous fat tissue in mice, including females whose ovaries had been removed.

According to the authors, a drug that blocks follicle-stimulating hormone could treat both postmenopausal osteoporosis and obesity, and may also provide benefits for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.