About this Research Topic
Epidemiological data supports that early female pubertal onset (menarche and/or thelarche) can lead to a spectrum of health problems for these adult women including a greater risk of developing breast cancer or diabetes. The question is how. Research continues to emerge supporting the causal role reproductive hormones play in linking puberty and women’s health. However, defining the absolute impact of altering the timing and functionality of hormonally driven pathways has been elusive. Especially when these pinnacle changes only occur (arguably) just prior to pubertal onset with no clinical manifestations of disease until much later in life; thus, defining puberty as a critical development window for women’s health.
Precocious puberty is a serious endocrine condition initiated by a complex series of events within the central nervous system. It can begin any time after birth, is dependent on the hypothalamic release of gonadotropin hormone releasing hormone (GnRH), and characterized by increased levels of gonadotropins and estradiol (E2)- similar to those that occur at the normal time of puberty. Yet, we do not fully understand the lasting impact advance puberty has on women’s health. While the vast majority of female precocious puberty cases have no known cause, several factors play significate roles in altering this centralized process including nutritional and metabolic status, environmental factors, and genetics. With the adolescent rise in obesity contributing to additional cases of precocious puberty, it is now more than ever necessary to identify how centrally initiated early puberty reprograms endocrine controlled pathways. The aim of this Research Topic is to culminate existing and new data that will define the impact of specific cellular and genetic hormonally driven changes in peripheral organs due to centrally induced precocious female puberty. The goal is to create a roadmap showing how early puberty increases disease susceptibility. This can include research that includes factors that might cause precocious female puberty and proposed pathways to prevent disease as a result.
• New factors that influence neuroendocrine regulation of pubertal hormones advancing thelarche and/or menarche
• Exogenous adolescent/pubertal exposure to physiologically relevant levels of endocrine disruptors that alter mammary gland, uterine, and/or ovarian cell fate/function
• Research models/techniques to study the relationship between centrally regulated precocious puberty and adult disease
• Etiology of diseases due to hormonally driven advanced female thelarche and/or menarche
• Epigenetic changes during puberty that contribute to mammary gland, uterine, liver and/or ovarian function
• Lifestyle impact on female puberty as it relates to endogenous hormones and risk of disease
• Puberty and impact on pregnancy
Keywords: Female puberty, mammary gland, reproductive hormones, cancer, women’s health
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.