The human menopause transition and aging are each associated with an increase in a variety of health risk factors including, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, stroke, sexual dysfunction, affective disorders, sleep disturbances, and cognitive decline. It is challenging to systematically evaluate the biological underpinnings associated with the menopause transition in the human population. For this reason, rodent models have been invaluable tools for studying the impact of gonadal hormone fluctuations and eventual decline on a variety of body systems. While it is essential to keep in mind that some of the mechanisms associated with aging and the transition into a reproductively senescent state can differ when translating from one species to another, animal models provide researchers with opportunities to gain a fundamental understanding of the key elements underlying reproduction and aging processes, paving the way to explore novel pathways for intervention associated with known health risks. Here, we discuss the utility of several rodent models used in the laboratory for translational menopause research, examining the benefits and drawbacks in helping us to better understand aging and the menopause transition in women. The rodent models discussed are ovary-intact, ovariectomy, and 4-vinylcylohexene diepoxide for the menopause transition. We then describe how these models may be implemented in the laboratory, particularly in the context of cognition. Ultimately, we aim to use these animal models to elucidate novel perspectives and interventions for maintaining a high quality of life in women, and to potentially prevent or postpone the onset of negative health consequences associated with these significant life changes during aging.
- Abbreviations HT hormone therapy
- DMS delayed match-to-sample task
- VCD 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide
- WRAM water radial-arm maze
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Obstetrics and Gynecology