Minireview: translational animal models of human menopause: challenges and emerging opportunities

Endocrinology. 2012 Aug;153(8):3571-8. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1340. Epub 2012 Jul 9.


Increasing importance is placed on the translational validity of animal models of human menopause to discern risk vs. benefit for prediction of outcomes after therapeutic interventions and to develop new therapeutic strategies to promote health. Basic discovery research conducted over many decades has built an extensive body of knowledge regarding reproductive senescence across mammalian species upon which to advance animal models of human menopause. Modifications to existing animal models could rapidly address translational gaps relevant to clinical issues in human menopausal health, which include the impact of 1) chronic ovarian hormone deprivation and hormone therapy, 2) clinically relevant hormone therapy regimens (cyclic vs. continuous combined), 3) clinically relevant hormone therapy formulations, and 4) windows of opportunity and optimal duration of interventions. Modifications in existing animal models to more accurately represent human menopause and clinical interventions could rapidly provide preclinical translational data to predict outcomes regarding unresolved clinical issues relevant to women's menopausal health. Development of the next generation of animal models of human menopause could leverage advances in identifying genotypic variations in estrogen and progesterone receptors to develop personalized menopausal care and to predict outcomes of interventions for protection against or vulnerability to disease. Key to the success of these models is the close coupling between the translational target and the range of predictive validity. Preclinical translational animal models of human menopause need to keep pace with changes in clinical practice. With focus on predictive validity and strategic use of advances in genetic and epigenetic science, new animal models of human menopause have the opportunity to set new directions for menopausal clinical care for women worldwide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Models, Animal*