Menstrual cycle-related variation in autonomic nervous system functioning in women in the early menopausal transition with and without insomnia disorder.
ABSTRACT: Insomnia is considered a hyperarousal disorder, in which several psychophysiological domains including the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are over-activated, potentially contributing to increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) disease. Here, we aimed to determine whether insomnia that develops in the context of the transition to menopause (menopausal transition insomnia, MTI) is similarly characterized by autonomic arousal. We also took into account modulation of the ANS by the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, a factor that has not previously been considered in studies on insomnia. Twenty one women with insomnia (49.0±3y) and 25 controls (48.8±2.6 y), also in the menopausal transition, had overnight laboratory-based polysomnographic recordings, including electrocardiograph, during the follicular and/or luteal (progesterone?3ngml-1) phases of the menstrual cycle, with 21 women having recordings in both phases. Nocturnal time and frequency-domain heart rate variability (HRV) measures were calculated. Heart rate (HR) was significantly elevated (by ?4bpm) in MTI compared to controls in both follicular and luteal phases, across hours of the night, including during undisturbed periods of NREM and REM sleep (p<0.05). A higher HR tended to be associated with lower frequency- and time-domain vagal HRV indices in MTI compared with controls. In both groups, HR was significantly higher and total and high frequency HRV measures were lower in the luteal phase compared to the follicular phase (p<0.05). In addition, REM compared to NREM sleep was characterized by increased HR coupled with decreased vagal modulation and increased sympathovagal balance (p<0.01). Insomnia in the menopausal transition is characterized by nocturnal autonomic hyperarousal during both follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, which could be a factor in the etiology of MTI as well as a potential CV risk factor.
Project description:A recent meta-analysis revealed that cardiac vagal activity (mostly indicated by vagally-mediated heart rate variability; HRV) decreases significantly from the follicular to luteal menstrual cycle phase in naturally-cycling participants. However, the question remains as to whether cyclical changes in estradiol (E2), progesterone (P4), or both are responsible for HRV fluctuations. We present the first studies to use repeated measures of E2, P4, and HRV across the cycle to model both the unique and interactive effects of person-centered E2 and P4 on HRV in multilevel models. In study one, 40 naturally-cycling participants were assessed weekly across four weeks, and were blind to the cycle focus of the study. In study two, 50 naturally-cycling participants were examined in three precisely defined cycle phases via ovulation testing. Both studies revealed that only P4 was correlated with HRV, such that higher-than-usual P4 significantly predicted lower-than-usual HRV within a given participant. In line with this, cycle phase comparisons revealed lower HRV in the mid-luteal phase (characterized by elevated P4) than in other phases. No significant main or interactive effects of E2 on HRV were found. Future female health studies should investigate individual differences in these effects and potential consequences of cyclical HRV changes on daily functioning.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>Asprosin, an orexigenic hormone that stimulates hepatic glucose release, is elevated in insulin resistance and associated with obesity. Plasma asprosin concentrations may also be related to female sex hormone levels; higher levels are reported in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) but this may be related to peripheral insulin resistance also associated with PCOS. Clarification of female-specific factors influence on the plasma asprosin response is crucial for studies investigating asprosin. Therefore, this study determined the association of menstrual phase, oral contraceptive (OC) use (as a pharmacological influence on sex hormone levels) and training status (as a physiological influence on sex hormone levels) on plasma asprosin levels in pre-menopausal women.<h4>Methods</h4>Fasting plasma asprosin, 17?-estradiol (E2) and progesterone, were assessed in 32 healthy untrained and trained women with regular menstrual cycles (non-OC; n?=?8 untrained, n?=?6 trained) or using OC (n?=?10 untrained, n?=?8 trained) during early follicular, late follicular and mid-luteal menstrual phases (or the time-period equivalent for OC users).<h4>Results</h4>Asprosin was lower in OC (0.75?±?0.38 ng mL<sup>-1</sup>) than non-OC users (1.00?±?0.37 ng mL<sup>-1</sup>; p?=?0.022). Across a cycle, asprosin was highest in the early follicular equivalent time-point in OC users (0.87?±?0.37 ng mL<sup>-1</sup>) but highest in the mid-luteal phase in non-OC users (1.09?±?0.40 ng mL<sup>-1</sup>). Asprosin concentrations varied more across a cycle in untrained than trained women, with higher concentrations in the early follicular phase compared to the late follicular and mid-luteal (training status-by-menstrual phase interaction p?=?0.028).<h4>Conclusion</h4>These findings highlight the importance of considering OC use, menstrual cycle phase and to a lesser extent training status when investigating circulating asprosin concentrations in females.
Project description:About 10% of Japanese female athletes are afflicted by menstrually-related edema, mainly in the lower limbs, and, with few studies on this problem, the effect on performance remains unclear.To quantitatively evaluate fluid retention in the calf in female students over their menstrual cycle using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to determine the relationship of MRI changes and athletic performance.The menstrual cycle was divided into 5 phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, early luteal, and late luteal with sampling done in either morning (AM) or afternoon (PM) sessions. At each phase, MRI of the calf (7:00-8:00, 14:00-16:00), body composition and hormones (7:00-8:00), and athletic performance (14:00-16:00) were evaluated.13 adult healthy Japanese female students with eumenorrhea.Estradiol levels decreased significantly in the menstrual phase and the follicular phase compared to the early luteal phase (P = 0.001, P = 0.024 respectively). Menstrual phase estradiol levels were significantly lower compared to the ovulatory phase (P = 0.015), and the late luteal phase (P = 0.003). Progesterone levels decreased significantly in the menstrual phase and the follicular phase compared to the ovulatory phase (P = 0.012, P = 0.009 respectively), the early luteal phase (both P = 0.007), and the late luteal phase (P = 0.028, P = 0.029 respectively), and it along with a significant decrease in the ovulatory phase compared to the early luteal phase (P = 0.010). AM T2 signals were significantly lower in the menstrual phase compared to the ovulatory phase (P = 0.043) but not other phases. PM T2 signals increased significantly in the menstrual phase compared to the follicular phase (P = 0.003), ovulatory phase (P = 0.009), and the late luteal phase (P = 0.032), and the difference between the AM and PM values increased significantly in the menstrual phase compared to the other 4 phases (P<0.01). A negative correlation between fluid retention and agility was observed.In female students fluid retention during the menstrual phase could be a factor that influences athletic agility.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The stem cell marker Octamer-4 (OCT-4) is expressed in human endometrium. Menstrual cycle-dependency of OCT-4 expression has not been investigated to date. METHODS: In a prospective, single center cohort study of 98 women undergoing hysteroscopy during the follicular (n = 49) and the luteal (n = 40) phases of the menstrual cycle, we obtained endometrial samples. Specimens were investigated for OCT-4 expression on the mRNA and protein levels using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Expression of OCT-4 was correlated to menstrual cycle phase. RESULTS: Of 89 women sampled, 49 were in the follicular phase and 40 were in the luteal phase. OCT-4 mRNA was detected in all samples. Increased OCT-4 mRNA levels in the follicular and luteal phases was found in 35/49 (71%) and 27/40 (68%) of women, respectively (p = 0.9). Increased expression of OCT-4 protein was identified in 56/89 (63%) samples. Increased expression of OCT-4 protein in the follicular and luteal phases was found in 33/49 (67%) and 23/40 (58%) of women, respectively (p = 0.5). CONCLUSIONS: On the mRNA and protein levels, OCT-4 is not differentially expressed during the menstrual cycle. Endometrial OCT-4 is not involved in or modulated by hormone-induced cyclical changes of the endometrium.
Project description:PURPOSE:DNA repair genes Minichromosome maintenance complex component (MCM) 8 and 9 have been linked with gonadal development, primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), and age at menopause. Our objective was to characterize MCM 8 and 9 gene expression in the menstrual cycle, and to compare MCM 8/9 expression in POI vs normo-ovulatory women. METHODS:Normo-ovulatory controls (n?=?11) and unexplained POI subjects (n?=?6) were recruited. Controls provided three blood samples within one menstrual cycle: (1) early follicular phase, (2) ovulation, and (3) mid-luteal phase. Six of 11 controls only provided a follicular phase sample. Amenorrheic POI subjects provided a single, random blood sample. MCM8/9 expression in peripheral blood was assessed with qRTPCR. Analyses were performed using delta-Ct measurements; group differences were transformed to a fold change (FC) and confidence interval (CI). Differences across menstrual cycle phases were compared using random effects ANOVA. Two-sample t tests were used to compare two groups. RESULTS:MCM8 expression was significantly lower at ovulation and during the luteal phase, when compared to the follicular phase [FC?=?0.69 in the luteal vs follicular phase (p?=?0.012, CI?=?0.53, 0.90); and 0.65 in the ovulatory vs follicular phase (p?=?0.0057, CI?=?0.50, 0.85)]. No change in MCM9 expression was noted throughout the menstrual cycle. No significant difference was seen in MCM8/9 expression when comparing POI to control subjects. CONCLUSIONS:Our study showed greater MCM8 expression in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, compared to the ovulatory and luteal phases. No cyclic changes were seen with MCM9. Significant differences in MCM8/9 expression were not detected between POI and controls; however, we recommend further investigation with a larger sample population.
Project description:Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response is sensitive to sex, with healthy young women showing less PPI compared with age-matched men, and varies according to the menstrual cycle phase in women. Relatively less is known regarding sex and hormonal influences in prepulse facilitation (PPF). Menstrual phase-related variability in PPI is suggested to be mediated by fluctuating estrogen level, based on the observations of more PPI in women during the follicular, relative to the luteal, phase. No study has directly assessed the relationship between fluctuating hormones and PPI or PPF levels over the human ovarian cycle. To examine the roles of circulating ovarian hormones in PPI and PPF, 16 non-smoking regularly menstruating healthy women were tested during both the follicular and luteal phases on PPI and PPF and provided saliva samples for measurement of 17beta-estradiol (estrogen), progesterone and testosterone. The results showed higher levels of 17beta-estradiol and progesterone during the luteal, relative to the follicular, phase; and more PPI during the follicular phase and more PPF during the luteal phase with comparable startle amplitude and habituation during the two phases. A larger increase in progesterone was associated with a smaller decrease in PPI from the follicular to the luteal phase. No significant associations were found between changes in PPI/PPF and estrogen levels. The findings confirm lower PPI during the luteal, compared with the follicular, phase and suggest a role for progesterone, more specifically an antipsychotic-like PPI-restoration action of progesterone, during the luteal phase in PPI of young women.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inflammation and immune activation are key factors in sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We sought to define the impact of hormonal cycling on the mucosal immune environment and HIV risk in sex workers with a natural menstrual cycle. METHODS:We compared soluble mucosal immune factors and cervical mononuclear cells during hormone titer-defined phases of the menstrual cycle among 37 sex workers from Nairobi, Kenya. Systemic and mucosal samples were collected 14 days apart to distinguish the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, and phases were confirmed by hormone measurements. Vaginal concentrations of 19 immune modulators and cervical T-cell activation markers were measured. RESULTS:The follicular phase signature was characterized by an elevated CCL2 level, decreased interleukin 1α and interleukin 1β cervical concentrations, and a significant increase in the proportion of CD4+ T cells that expressed CD69. The genital concentration of CCL2 was the best marker to distinguish the follicular from the luteal phase in univariate and multivariate analyses and remained independent of elevated genital inflammation and bacterial vaginosis. CONCLUSION:The follicular phase of the menstrual cycle was associated with an elevated CCL2 level and retention of resident memory CD4+ T cells, which has implications for increased susceptibility to HIV infection.
Project description:Air pollution can influence women's reproductive health, specifically menstrual cycle characteristics, oocyte quality, and risk of miscarriage. The aim of the study was to assess whether air pollution can affect the length of the overall menstrual cycle and the length of its phases (follicular and luteal). Municipal ecological monitoring data was used to assess the air pollution exposure during the monitored menstrual cycle of each of 133 woman of reproductive age. Principal component analyses were used to group pollutants (PM10, SO₂, CO, and NOx) to represent a source-related mixture. PM10 and SO₂ assessed separately negatively affected the length of the luteal phase after standardization (b = -0.02; p = 0.03; b = -0.06; p = 0.02, respectively). Representing a fossil fuel combustion emission, they were also associated with luteal phase shortening (b = -0.32; p = 0.02). These pollutants did not affect the follicular phase length and overall cycle length, neither in single- nor in multi-pollutant models. CO and NOx assessed either separately or together as a traffic emission were not associated with overall cycle length or the length of cycle phases. Luteal phase shortening, a possible manifestation of luteal phase deficiency, can result from fossil fuel combustion. This suggests that air pollution may contribute to fertility problems in women.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To investigate if sexual activity moderated menstrual cycle-related shifts in cytokines associated with T-helper type 1 (TH1) cells (e.g., interferon [IFN] ?) and T-helper type 2 (TH2) cells (e.g., interleukin [IL] 4). Immune activity shifts across the menstrual cycle, with higher follicular-phase TH1-cell activity but higher luteal-phase TH2-cell activity. Little is known about how social behaviors alter TH1-TH2 ratios, despite evidence that psychosocial factors can influence immunity. Of particular interest is how sexual activity influences immune responses that may support conception, such as the TH1-TH2 balance. DESIGN:Participants provided saliva samples at four time points (menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases), which were assayed by means of ELISA. SETTING:Academic laboratory. PARTICIPANT(S):Thirty healthy premenopausal women (16 sexually abstinent, 14 sexually active) not taking hormonal or immunoactive medications. INTERVENTION(S):None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):Salivary E2, P, IFN-?, and IL-4. RESULT(S):Sexually active, but not abstinent, women were significantly more likely to express TH2-like cytokine ratios (IFN-? < IL-4) in the luteal phase than in other phases. Similarly, sexually active women had significantly higher P, and higher P-E2 ratios, in the luteal phase than did abstinent women. The P-E2 ratio mediated menstrual variations in cytokine ratios in sexually active women. CONCLUSION(S):These results support the hypothesis that shifts in immune response across the menstrual cycle may reflect tradeoffs between reproduction and immunity. These findings point to the need for further research on the interaction between sexual behavior, the menstrual cycle, and immune response.
Project description:Hormonal transitions across the menstrual cycle may modulate human reward processing and reinforcement learning, but previous results were contradictory. Studies assessed relatively small samples (n < 30) and exclusively used within-subject designs to compare women in hormonally distinct menstrual cycle phases. This increased the risk of sporadic findings and results may have been disproportionally affected by expectancy effects. Also, replication studies are widely missing, which currently precludes any reliable inferences. The present study was intended as a conceptual replication of a previous study [(1), Neuropsychologia 84; n = 15]. There, we had observed a reduction in avoidance learning capacity when women were in the high estradiol state of the late follicular phase as compared to the mid luteal phase with enhanced progesterone influence. These results conformed to the idea that estradiol and progesterone may antagonistically modulate dopaminergic transmission as a dopamine agonist and antagonist, respectively. Heightened progesterone in the luteal phase thereby supported the ability to learn from the negative outcomes of one's actions, while the follicular rise in estradiol interfered with this capacity. Here, we re-examined the above described within-subject difference between the follicular and the luteal phase in a between-subjects design. Seventy-five women were tested once with a probabilistic feedback learning task, while being either in the follicular (36 women) or luteal phase (39 women), and were compared for phase-related differences in behavior. Secondly, we combined the new data with data from three previous studies from our laboratory that used the same task and menstrual cycle phases. This meta-analysis included only data from the first test day, free of any biasing expectancy effects. Both analyses demonstrated the consistency of the decline in avoidance learning in the follicular relative to the luteal phase. We also showed that this decline reliably occurred in all of the included samples. Altogether, these results provide evidence for the consistency of a behavioral difference and its apparent association with a transient change in hormonal state that occurs in the natural menstrual cycle. Our findings may also open new avenues for the development of reliable between-subjects test protocols in menstrual cycle research.