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Nutritional infertility is a significant biomedical issue, too. Infertility is common in parts of the world where food is in short supply.

When food becomes more available, fertility surges unless appropriate measures are taken. Nutritional infertility is found in industrialized societies where food is plentiful for most people. Women who limit their food intake or who engage in extraordinary amounts of exercise are often amenorrheic. Nutritional amenorrhea has health consequences beyond an inability to conceive. It can increase the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disorders. As this picture of the ~30-thousand-year-old Venus of Willendorf suggests, the association between ample food supplies and fertility has been suspected for some time.

We have approached nutritional infertility as a series of problems in resource economics; in this case the resource is energy. When energy is plentiful, animals can afford to engage in optimal levels of all activities. Food is ingested and absorbed, and it enters a circulating pool of oxidizable metabolic fuels. These fuels can be converted from one form to another in the liver, stored for future use as triglycerides in adipose tissues, or oxidized to provide energy for a wide variety of activities. However, energy is rarely available in unlimited quantities, and animals are forced to set priorities.

When food is limited or difficult to obtain, animals will preserve those activities necessary for survival, such as basic cellular maintenance, thermoregulation (unless the species has the option of hibernation), and foraging for food. Reproduction is usually deferred until energy is more available and chances of reproductive success are greater. Other energy-expending activities are reduced to the extent possible.

Like reproduction, fat storage has a low priority during famine. Instead, animals mobilize the fatty acids that were stored during better times. The fact that reproduction and fat storage both have low priorities for energy partitioning during energetic challenges probably accounts for the habitual association between leanness and infertility.

Infertility can also result from the expenditure of extraordinary amounts of energy in other processes, such as keeping warm or exercising. As with food deprivation, reproduction is deferred. Fat stores are mobilized. However, excessive energy expenditure, per se, does not necessarily result in infertility. It must be associated with a limitation on food intake, so that there is an imbalance between intake and expenditure.

Excessive storage of calories as fat can reduce fertility, too - but only if the animals fail to compensate for the increased energy storage with increased energy intake. As with food deprivation, reproduction is deferred. Other energy-expending activities are reduced to the extent possible. Thus, simply being in positive energy balance is not sufficient to maintain fertility. Metabolic fuels must be available for oxidation, too.

Integration of Knowledge
Understand Disease Optimize Health social

behavior
neuronal circuits protein expression

genome

Thrombospondins Promote CNS Synaptogenesis

Source: Christopherson, KS et al., Cell 120, 421-433, February 11, 2005.

MRI Study of Normal Brain Development


Create a database of behavioral and brain MRI development data for 0-18 years Analyze structuralbehavioural relationships
The National Institute on Drug Abuse

(N=500)

Develop technique for dissemination of results

Commissioned articles highlighting current progress in the neurobiology of feeding regulation, energy metabolism and obesity

Sponsored by the

Obesity Research Task Force of the National Institutes of Health

NIDA NIDDK NIAAA NHLBI

Spinal Ganglion Cells

1 Nucleus with clearly visible nucleolus 2 Satellite cells 3 Nerve fibers 4 Capillaries Stain: azan; magnification: 400

Multipolar Neurons

motor neurons of the columna anterior from the spinal cord Stain: carmine red; magnification: 80

Smooth Muscle Cells Stain: carmine red; magnification: 80

The nucleotides are made up of three parts: 1. One of the pyrimidine or purine bases uracil, cytosine, adenine, or guanine (Fig. 5-1). All four of these bases are present in RNA, while DNA contains thymine instead of uracil. Atoms in the bases are numbered 16 or 19. 2. A sugar, either D-ribose or D-2-deoxyribose. Carbon atoms in sugars are numbered 15. 3. Phosphoric acid

The heavy green arrows mark the two reactive groups involved in the polymerization to form nucleic acids

The nucleotide uridine monophosphate (UMP or uridylic acid)

A distorted (flattened) view of the WatsonCrick structure of DNA showing the hydrogen-bonded base pairs.