The scientists found abundant amounts of the puzzling protein — whose main location and function were unknown until now — in a specific area of the pituitary gland. Like someone at a control knob, the protein may adjust the release of the two hormones that come almost exclusively from the posterior pituitary: oxytocin, which controls many reproductive functions, and vasopressin, which controls fluid balance.
"The findings raise very interesting possibilities for women's health, in which rising and falling hormone levels play a key role in many biological processes," says senior author Meyer Jackson, a professor of physiology at the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). More studies will be needed to better understand the protein, he adds.
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