Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research In Monkeys Suggests Estrogen Therapy May Lower Androgens In Postmenopausal Women

Date:
May 17, 2004
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
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.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – 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.

Related Articles


"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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Research In Monkeys Suggests Estrogen Therapy May Lower Androgens In Postmenopausal Women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040517073051.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2004, May 17). Research In Monkeys Suggests Estrogen Therapy May Lower Androgens In Postmenopausal Women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040517073051.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Research In Monkeys Suggests Estrogen Therapy May Lower Androgens In Postmenopausal Women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040517073051.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins