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Metabolic Exercise Testing for Environmental Research
Metabolic Exercise Testing for Environmental Research

Dr. Stachenfeld's Lab

Research Interests

The regulation of body fluid and sodium content involves the integration of several physiological systems. One important system controls water and sodium output and/or reabsorption by the kidneys. A number of investigations have found that hormones involved primarily in reproductive function, specifically estrogen and progesterone, have important effects on the systems that regulate body fluid balance.

Estrogen, for example, can alter the "set point" around which the thirst mechanism and kidney water reabsorptive functions regulate body fluid content. Progesterone appears to affect body fluid content through its impact on the hormones that regulate body sodium content. The study of these hormones is challenging in young women because estrogen and progesterone fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. 

Consequently, we have examined these systems in older post-menopausal, women before and during treatment with estrogen. We have also used the birth control pill to control the levels of estrogen and progesterone in young women. Most recently we have used medications to temporarily suppress the menstrual cycle in young women while adding back estrogen and/or progesterone to study the effects of these hormones on body fluid regulation under more controlled conditions. Our most recent studies have examined estrogen, progesterone and testosterone effects on endothelial function by using the skin as a model for the cardiovascular system. Our studies include young healthy controls and women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Lab Members