Welcome to the Thackray Lab
The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis plays a pivotal role in every phase of female reproduction including fetal development, puberty, the menstrual/estrous cycle, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. Fertility depends on precise hormonal regulation of this axis. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are produced exclusively in the gonadotrope cells of the anterior pituitary. They are secreted into the blood stream, in response to pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) released from the hypothalamus. Both activin and gonadal steroid hormones also modulate LH and FSH levels via feedback to the anterior pituitary, as well as to the hypothalamus.
LH and FSH are heterodimers consisting of a common alpha subunit and a unique beta subunit. Since synthesis of the beta subunit is a rate-limiting step for production of the mature hormones, we are interested in the mechanisms of hormonal signaling involved in the regulation of LHB and FSHB gene expression. Comprehension of these molecular mechanisms not only provides insight into the physiology and pathology of the mammalian reproductive system, but may lead to the development of novel contraceptive methods or infertility treatments. Potential applications could also lead to new directions in treating a range of disorders that can result from malfunction in gonadotropin production such as amenorrhea, precocious puberty, ideopathic hypogonadism, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.