CURE Epilepsy Research Continuity Fund

Neural and Pituitary Mechanisms Linking Epilepsy to Co-Morbid Reproductive Endocrine Dysfunction

Catherine Christian-Hinman, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Both men and women with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), the most common focal epilepsy in adults, are at higher risk of developing reproductive endocrine hormone disorders, but the mechanisms linking epilepsy to reproductive co-morbidities are unknown. Reproductive endocrine disorders significantly impact quality of life and can drive elevated risks for other comorbidities. Former CURE Epilepsy grantee Dr. Christian-Hinman’s team is investigating the impacts of epilepsy on gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons in the brain using a mouse model of TLE. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is an important hormone that results in production of testosterone in men and estrogen and progesterone in women. This research has therapeutic potential to improve reproductive endocrine health, seizure control, and quality of life for patients with epilepsy.

Dr. Christian-Hinman’s study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The CURE Epilepsy Research Continuity Fund will help Dr. Christian-Hinman’s team restart several projects which had to be put on hold due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and associated laboratory shutdown.