Research indicates that a type 2 diabetes medication, dapagliflozin, alters reproductive hormones in obese mice.
The results are promising, as human and mouse reproductive cycles are similar, says Chen Chen, a professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland.
“After eight weeks of treatment, blood glucose levels in the mice normalized, body weight reduced, reproductive cycles recovered, and reproductive hormones and ovulation were largely restored, compared with mice that were not treated,” Chen says.
“The drug we used—drapagliflozin—is known for reducing blood glucose levels and improving other biomarkers of metabolic health, but its effects on reproductive health and fertility have yet to be fully investigated.
“Our findings suggest that normalizing blood glucose metabolism with dapagliflozin in obesity may be a promising route for restoring reproductive function, at the very least.”
Many women with obesity experience fertility issues and altered levels of reproductive hormones, and Chen says this might be linked to changes in energy metabolism, which alters reproductive hormone levels and disrupts the menstrual cycle and ovulation.
“People with obesity also have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and often have high blood glucose levels, as well as other metabolic changes, which further complicates matters,” he says.
“Findings from this study in mice shows that dapagliflozin has the potential to improve fertility in women when no other successful therapy is currently available. Such treatment could then go onto improving quality of life for many women.
“Our findings are encouraging, but much more work needs to be done to confirm that these findings can be replicated in women.”
Researchers will now investigate the therapeutic benefits of using dapagliflozin to improve reproductive function by examining molecular pathways in women’s reproductive systems.
This study appears in the Journal of Endocrinology.
Source: University of Queensland