Where Men are Men and Allergens Scared

Testosterone seems to moderate inflammatory responses

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Men have deeper voices, stronger muscles  more body hair and less susceptibility to inflammatory diseases. Thanks very much, testosterone.

A recent study has found that testosterone has a protective quality for men from developing inflammatory diseases. When women's cells were injected with testosterone, those responses to inflammatory agents were less emphatic and more like the male responses.

"Testosterone protects men from inflammation."

Carlo Pergola, Ph.D. from the Institute of Pharmacy of University Jena explains that their series of tests show that cells from men and women react differently to inflammatory stimuli. They observed some immune cells of women producing nearly twice the number of pro-inflammatory substances than those of men.

The Jena researchers and their international colleagues examined the molecular basis for this while isolating immune cells of male and female donors and subsequently analyzing the activity of enzymes that produce pro-inflammatory substances. The male cells enzyme phospholipase D is significantly less active than in the female cells. The crucial finding happened when the scientists treated the women's cells with testosterone.

At that point, the enzyme reduces its activity in the female cells as well.

Oliver Werz, Ph.D. from the Jena University explains that it is primarily women with diseases like asthma, psoriasis and/or rheumatoid arthritis. This has been known for quite a while, but what hasn't been known is why. Now these researchers are convinced that the sexual hormones play a vital role in this difference.

Given this new information, Werz recommends that tests for new therapies need to include a balanced population of men and women. Currently, most new therapies are tested on primarily male volunteers, which are quite possibly skewing results. A customized therapy for men and women is advised and envisioned by Dr. Werz.

The researchers report their findings in the current edition of FASEB Journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 26, 2011
Last Updated:
July 28, 2011