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Testosterone and Other Sex Hormones Impact Asthma Response Dependent on Sex
Sep 23, 2022


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Many conditions affect men and women differently. One of these conditions is asthma. It has long been known that pre-pubertal males tend to have more issues with asthma than females of the same age, but the underlying reasons have not been so straightforward.

Recently, researchers from Johns Hopkins have explored the effects of Testosterone on asthma. Understanding how men and women differ physiologically is critical because it leads to different risks and factors impacting potential treatment options.

While this study was conducted in mice, its results are hypothesized to be transferrable to humans. The research was published in the Journal of Immunology last October. While women are less likely to experience asthma than men in adulthood, Testosterone activates inflammation receptors in the lungs in response to exposure to an allergen known as ovalbumin. These results give some mixed messages.

Asthma Risk Dependent on Age and Sex

Asthma is attractive because its prevalence changes among males and females depending on age. Before puberty, boys are more liable to have issues with asthma than girls. After puberty, however, the situation changes. Then girls and women are more likely to have asthma. This is an example of how sex hormones lead to wellness-related sex differences. We can improve asthma diagnosis and treatment protocols by exploring the mechanisms behind these differences.

A previous study investigated how Estrogen affected lung inflammation in mice. They found that Estrogen triggers inflammation. As we mentioned earlier, post-pubertal girls and women have a much higher incidence of asthma than men of the same age.

This data led researchers to hypothesize that Testosterone would provide benefits against lung inflammation. For example, while still in the experimental phases, male hormones have been prescribed as a successful treatment for women with asthma.

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