Mini-puberty described in males ⋅ Inserm, From science to health

Mini-puberty is a developmental stage that occurs in all mammals, including us, shortly after birth. It is necessary for brain maturation and subsequent fertility. Its development had already been described in female mice, and the work of a team Inserm from the University Hospital of Lille, taken to the male, complete the picture today. Ultimately, this knowledge could help fight against disorders that occur in premature children who present abnormal mini-puberty.

At the Lille University Hospital, researchers hope to improve the prognosis of children born prematurely, who present an increased risk of sensory, cognitive or even metabolic disorders in adulthood. Previous work they have carried out in animals has shown a correlation between the risk of developing these disorders and the occurrence of abnormal mini-puberty. By studying this association, the scientists discovered the major involvement of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule produced in the brain by specialized neurons. ” NO regulates the activity of other neurons that produce a hormone called GnRH (for Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone) and orchestrate the establishment and regulation of reproductive function. When the activity of NO neurons is suppressed in mice, mini-puberty is abnormal, the animals are infertile and also develop a procession of sensory and mental disorders similar to those observed in certain people born prematurely. “, explains Konstantina Chachlaki, Inserm researcher in the Neuroscience and Cognition laboratory of the Lille University Hospital. To hope to prevent the onset of these developmental disorders, researchers must begin by understanding how mini-puberty works and the role played by the neurons that produce NO. They carry out this work within the framework of the international research program miniNO