Mayo Clinic receives SCORE grant to improve women’s health

Mayo Clinic received a $7.7 million grant to fund a Specialized Center of Research Excellence (SCORE) on sex differences from the Office of Research on Women’s Health and the National Institute on Aging. The overarching theme of the project, entitled “Sex-Specific Effects of Endocrine Disruption on Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease,” is to investigate how abrupt loss of ovarian hormones, caused by bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) prior to natural menopause, affects overall aging, physical and cognitive function, and risk for Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology.

Approximately 1 in 8 women have their ovaries removed before reaching natural menopause. Given the large number of aging women with a history of premenopausal BSO, there is an urgent need to understand the long-term physical and cognitive outcomes of the procedure to empower women considering prophylactic BSO in the future to make more informed decisions.

The SCORE will be led by principal investigators Michelle Mielke, Ph.D. (HSR ’11), Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences Research; and Viriginia Miller, Ph.D. (PHYS ’86), Department of Surgery and Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering.

SCORE grants are designed to promote interdisciplinary approaches to advance translational research on sex differences. To earn these competitive awards, institutions must develop a research agenda bridging basic and clinical research underlying a health issue pertinent to improving the health of women.

The Mayo Clinic SCORE will include three cores that will support the research projects and a career development program:the Administrative Core will be led by Drs. Mielke and Miller; the Career Enhancement Core will be led by Dr. Miller; the Research Support Core-Clinical Core will be led by Ekta Kapoor, M.B.B.S. (I ’08, ENDO ’12), Division of General Internal Medicine and Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition in the Department of Medicine.

Three research projects in the SCORE include:

Project 1 – “Effects of Bilateral Oophorectomy on Physical and Cognitive Aging.” This project will assess the effects of premenopausal BSO on accelerated aging as measured by declines in physical and cognitive function and plasma levels of senescence and other biomarkers of accelerated aging. Leaders: Dr. Mielke and Walter Rocca, M.D. (MSEP ’93), Department of Health Sciences Research


Project 2 – “Bilateral Oophorectomy on Imaging Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s and Cerebrovascular Diseases.” This project will assess the effects of premenopausal BSO on neuroimaging measures of Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular pathology, and determine whether APOE ε4 modifies these effects. Leader: Kejal Kantarci, M.D. (R-D ’04, CTSA ’09), Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Radiology


Project 3 – “Effects of Ovariectomy on the Biology of Physical and Cognitive Aging in Mice.” A mechanistic complement to the human projects, this project will determine the effects of ovariectomy in mice on cellular senescence and will measure physical and cognitive function. The project also will determine the temporal sequence and tissue-specific effects of estrogen-replacement therapy on cellular senescence. Leader: Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D. (PHYS ’10), Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering


Recommended reading

Posts about similar topics: