Early-onset menopause may have a genetic trigger

The early onset of menopause and a condition called blepharophimosis, which causes drooping eyelids, seem to be caused by the same genetic defect.

By | February 1, 2001

The early onset of menopause and a condition called blepharophimosis, which causes drooping eyelids, seem to be caused by the same genetic defect, according to findings published in the February issue of Nature Genetics.

A gene called FOXL2 has been identified on human chromosome 3 that seems to act as a transcription factor (that is, it turns other genes 'on' or 'off') in the development of normal eyelids and, in women, in the formation of a full complement of eggs in the ovaries before birth.

FOXL2 was isolated partly because chromosome 3 had been implicated in families with a history of blepharophimosis and premature ovarian failure. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy and autoimmune disorders are all known to trigger ovarian failure, but up to 30% of sufferers are known to have at least one female relative with the condition.

David Schlessinger, co-author of the study and Chief of the National Institute on Aging's laboratory in Baltimore, said that the findings establish blepharophimosis as a potential marker for the early onset of menopause in some women. "Although we are talking about an age-related condition, menopause, all of the critical events have occurred in foetal development that determine when menopause will occur," Schlessinger said. He added: "If we understand more about how tissues are formed, we might be able to prolong the function of cells and even regenerate tissues that are worn out."

Popular Now

  1. UC Berkeley Receives CRISPR Patent in Europe
    Daily News UC Berkeley Receives CRISPR Patent in Europe

    The European Patent Office will grant patent rights over the use of CRISPR in all cell types to a University of California team, contrasting with a recent decision in the U.S.

  2. DNA Replication Errors Contribute to Cancer Risk
  3. Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?
    Daily News Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?

    With its announced launch of a whole-exome sequencing service for apparently healthy individuals, Ambry Genetics is the latest company to enter this growing market. But whether these services are useful for most people remains up for debate.  

  4. Rethinking a Cancer Drug Target
    Daily News Rethinking a Cancer Drug Target

    The results of a CRISPR-Cas9 study suggest that MELK—a protein thought to play a critical role in cancer—is not necessary for cancer cell survival.

Business Birmingham