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From the article:
“When women approach menopause, they gain weight in fat and their energy expenditure goes down,” says Deborah Clegg of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Estrogen levels decline and women grow increasingly susceptible to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Estrogen acts on receptors found throughout the body, in fat, on ovaries and in muscle. But when it comes to the hormone’s influence on metabolism, Clegg suspected receptors in the brain.
The researchers showed female mice lacking ERα [estrogen receptor-α (ERα)] in one part of the brain (the hypothalamic steroidogenic factor-1 or SF1 neurons) gained weight without eating any more. Loss of ERα from another brain area (the hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin or POMC neurons) had the opposite effect: animals ate more without gaining weight. Loss of ERα receptors in those same neurons also led to various problems in ovulation and fertility.