Relationship of estrogen synthesis capacity in the brain with obesity and self-control in men and women

Anat Biegon, Nelly Alia-Klein, David L. Alexoff, Joanna S. Fowler, Sung Won Kim, Jean Logan, Deborah Pareto, Rebecca Preston-Campbell, Gene Jack Wang, Tom Hildebrandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gonadal hormones are linked to mechanisms that govern appetitive behavior and its suppression. Estrogens are synthesized from androgens by the enzyme aromatase, highly expressed in the ovaries of reproductive-aged women and in the brains of men and women of all ages. We measured aromatase availability in the amygdala using positron emission tomography (PET) with the aromatase inhibitor [11C]vorozole in a sample of 43 adult, normal-weight, overweight, or obese men and women. A subsample of 27 also completed personality measures to examine the relationship between aromatase and personality traits related to self-regulation and inhibitory control. Results indicated that aromatase availability in the amygdala was negatively associated with body mass index (BMI) (in kilograms per square meter) and positively correlated with scores of the personality trait constraint independent of sex or age. Individual variations in the brain’s capacity to synthesize estrogen may influence the risk of obesity and self-control in men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22962-22966
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume117
Issue number37
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Aromatase
  • Estrogen
  • Obesity
  • PET imaging

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