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Role of testosterone in MS

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by heapsreal, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. heapsreal

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    Testosterone is a hormone which affects sexual features and development. Men have about ten times more testosterone in their blood than women. Yes, women do have testosterone which is produced by the ovaries, and both sexes have a small amount produced by the adrenal glands.

    In males, testosterone levels are low before puberty, increase during puberty, peak around the age of 40, then gradually lessen as men age. Coincidentally, or maybe not, men are diagnosed with MS more frequently just as their testosterone levels begin to drop

    Protection from MS

    Testosterone seems to protect young men from developing MS. Used therapeutically, it has a protective quality, inducing anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. A recent small pilot study involving 10 men with RRMS has supported this finding. As the study used a crossover design, each patient served as his own control with a 6-month observation period followed by 12-months of treatment with gel containing 100mg testosterone (AndroGel) applied to the upper arms once per day.

    Improving Outcomes

    The results showed that one year of treatment with testosterone gel was associated with improvement in cognitive performance and slowing of brain atrophy. Both very good findings. However, there was no significant effect on gadolinium-enhancing lesions in number or quality. Additionally, muscle mass was increased after the treatment period. Based on the results, it is suggested that testosterone treatment is safe and well tolerated and has potential neuroprotective effects in men with relapsing-remitting MS. This study did not include men with primary-progressive MS.

    Immunomodulatory Effects

    The same study explored the immunomodulatory effect which testosterone may exhibit as well. Changes in specific cytokines and inflammatory markers were seen. One change was "a shift in peripheral lymphocyte composition by a decrease of CD4+ autoreactive T-cells and an increase of NK (natural killer) cells." Is that a good thing?

    Interestingly, the study drug daclizumab treatment is also accompanied by a decrease of CD4+ cells and an increase of NK cells. NK cells have been suggested to play a regulatory role by killing myelin-specific T-cells (which attack myelin) and immature dendritic cells, promoting regulatory T-cells and enhancing Th2-like responses. Yes, these are good immunomodulatory responses.

    http://www.healthcentral.com/multiple-sclerosis/c/19065/112583/women
     

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