Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research in monkeys suggests estrogen therapy may lower androgens in postmenopausal women

14.05.2004


Research in monkeys suggests that long-term use of estrogen therapy may reduce levels of androgens – hormones involved in maintaining bone density, muscle mass, sexual function, memory, and psychological wellbeing in postmenopausal women.



"Our findings suggest that it might be important for women taking estrogen after menopause to also take androgen supplements – which can include testosterone," said Charles E. Wood, D.V.M., lead researcher, from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. The research is reported in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The adrenal glands are the primary source of androgen hormones in women. While aging is associated with a marked decline in androgens, others factors involved in adrenal androgen production are not well-known. Regulation of androgen levels may be particularly important in postmenopausal women because observational studies have shown that older women who have higher levels tend to be healthier.


"Recently, there has been increased interest in supplementing androgens in older women and research is underway to understand more about these hormones," said Wood. "Our study makes the point that estrogen reduces the adrenal gland’s production of androgens."

Wood and colleagues studied both premenopausal and postmenopausal estrogen treatment and the effects on androgen levels in a large group of female cynomolgus monkeys. Half of the monkeys were given oral contraceptives, which contain estrogen, in their diets for 26 months. All animals then had their ovaries removed to make them menopausal.

For the next three years, the animals were divided into three groups based on diet. One group ate soy that didn’t contain isoflavones, which are natural plant estrogens; one group ate soy with the isoflavones intact, and one group’s diet was soy without isoflavones and Premarin, or estrogen therapy, added.

Blood samples from the monkeys showed that androgen concentrations – both before and after menopause – were comparable to those found in women. They also showed that the monkeys given estrogen supplements had markedly lower levels of androgens.

"It appears that estrogen therapy can suppress adrenal androgen production," said Wood.

The researchers measured levels of the major androgens, which include dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), androstenedione (A4), and testosterone. Monkeys who took the oral contraceptives before menopause had DHEA-S levels that were 27 percent lower than the monkeys who didn’t take contraceptives. Levels of A4 were 53 percent lower, and levels of testosterone were 50 percent lower. These effects did not continue into menopause.

In the postmenopausal phase of the study, treatment with soy plus Premarin resulted in DHEA-S levels that were 29 percent lower than the monkeys who ate soy without isoflavones (control group) and 35 percent lower than the group eating soy with isoflavones. Total levels of testosterone were 52 percent lower than the control group and 41 percent lower than the group eating soy with isoflavones.

The researchers had suspected that the plant estrogens would also suppress androgen production. While this didn’t prove true, they did find that these monkeys had smaller adrenal glands than monkeys that didn’t consume the isoflavones.

The adrenal gland, located near the kidneys, uses cholesterol to make the androgen hormones and to make cortisol, a hormone associated with high levels of stress. The researchers found that while estrogen treatment lowered levels of androgen hormones, levels of cortisol increased.

"This may explain the mechanism for how estrogen suppresses androgen production," said Wood.

Other researchers in the study included J. Mark Cline, Mary S. Anthony, Thomas C. Register and Jay R. Kaplan, all from Wake Forest Baptist.


The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Media Contacts: Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu; Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu; at 336-716-4587

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. It is licensed to operate 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of "America’s Best Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>