March 15, 2023

Through a new study with marmosets, scientists are learning more about how neuroestrogens may be integral to supporting libido and maintaining female sexual health. 


The lack of effective treatment options for women with Female Sexual Interest Arousal Disorder (FSIAD) and obesity is likely related to the lack of understanding regarding the biology of female sexuality, as well as the regulation of body weight and metabolism,” reports first author Marissa Kraynak, Ph.D. Kraynak was a research fellow in the Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison when the study was underway, training under David Abbott, Ph.D., and Jon Levine, Ph.D., at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. She is now the Director of Health Policy Research at Insure the Uninsured Project in Sacramento. 


Doctors often give womensynthetic estradiol to compensatewhen women needovariectomies due to cysts, cancer, or other problems. But ovarian estradiol, found in the skin, adipose tissue, brain, and ovaries, can cause harmful side effects, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. 


Kraynak reported bioactive estradiol derived from the brain, as opposed to the ovaries, plays a pivotal role in maintaining sexual receptivity in female nonhuman primates. During the study at the University of Wisconsin–Madison center, the ovarian estradiol-depleted female monkeys remained receptive toward at least 35 percent of male mounting behaviors.  


Only by removing both ovarian and extra-ovarian estradiol, including hypothalamic sources, were female marmosets consistently sexually unreceptive to male sexual advances. This study provides hope for better treatment options for women with Female Sexual Interest Arousal Disorder (FSIAD) and obesity. 

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