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 A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Warm winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>