Monday, April 14, 2008

Esther and Andy

One of the discussions at a recent Sjogren’s conference discussed the importance of sex hormones in the mechanism of autoimmune disease.

 Of those who have Sjogren’s, women outnumber men by 9:1. Personally I am inclined to think this is explained by most women’s superior intellect, but since the majority of research is conducted by MEN, the research says that it is more likely due to the role of esterogen. 


When I was in college back in the dark ages, our anatomy and physiology professor gave us the names Esther and Andy to give us an interesting way to recall the Esther -esterogen – female sex hormones, and Andy – androgens, or male hormones. Freshman nursing school students need all the help that they can get. 

 Another statistic related to hormones states that Sjogren’s also occurs most frequently in post menopausal women.

So the big question given this information, is – what is it about the postmenopausal state that allows the development and clinical expression of these diseases?

There is speculation among researchers that the women who exhibit an insufficiency of female androgens may have a decrease in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases when treated with replacement androgens, specifically testosterone.

Testosterone suppresses DNA antibody production in patients with systemic lupus. It also delays graft rejection in rodents, and inhibits B and T cell maturation.

Additional studies by David Sullivan, of Schepens Eye Institute in Boston show that a deficiency of androgens contributes to the pathology found in animal models of inflammatory eye disease.

More research is needed in these vital areas of study.

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