Several studies have shown that women of childbearing age have a lower risk than men of developing a wide range of diseases. A phenomenon attributed to female sex hormones. Conversely, women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, in which an excessive immune and inflammatory response are among the factors that determine their development. Focus at the 15th World Congress on Inflammation
June 16 –
Gender medicine represents a new frontier in medical scientific research. An approach that takes into account the differences between men and women in health with the aim of providing more, more appropriate and personalized care. From prevention to diagnosis, from symptoms to response to treatments. Being a man or a woman has a special impact on many clinical aspects, from the injury to the symptoms and even the course of many diseases, especially those that have an inflammatory basis such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, respiratory system, autoimmune diseases and tumors.
This is what Professor S Elizabeth Vegeto From the University of Milan, who spoke during the “Gender and Gender Differences” session held during 15th World Congress on Inflammation (5-8 June, Rome)organized by Italian Society of Pharmacology (Sword) H By the International Association of Inflammatory Societies (despair).
“In recent years, research in the field of sex medicine has – says Vegito – made great progress: many studies have shown, in fact, that women of childbearing age have a lower risk than men of developing a wide range of diseases, compared to men, including those who have an inflammatory base. I think, for example, of atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases. A phenomenon attributed to female sex hormones that regulate reproductive life and help modulate the inflammatory process and immune response.”
In the age of personalized medicine, gender differences find their basis in genetic and hormonal factors. Factors that, in fact, also particularly affect the immune system of men and women. In particular, an important role in regulating the inflammatory process is entrusted to estrogen, the main female sex hormone, which is produced starting from puberty throughout the fertile period until a sharp decline with menopause.
“In general, women have – and Prof. Vegito still does – a stronger immune response than men and this is largely due to estrogen, which is able to contain and modulate the inflammatory process so as to speed up its resolution. Also thanks to the action of estrogen, women of childbearing age are more protected of some diseases compared to men; with menopause and the consequent decrease in estrogen, the proportion of women who get sick increases dramatically.”
Among the diseases that show significant differences between the sexes we find autoimmune diseases, which mainly affect women. “If, as Professor Vegito explains, the greater interaction of the female immune system than that of the male has a protective effect, there are cases where this property can be harmful as in autoimmune diseases, where an overreaction of the immune and inflammatory type is among the factors identified in the development of these diseases”.
Estrogen plays a major role in immune hyperreactivity andTherefore, it is necessary to develop personalized therapies directed against those mechanisms, including those regulated by estrogen, that give rise to disease in different ways between the sexes.
Estrogen is among the ideal candidates for developing new and innovative therapeutic approaches in the name of ever more personalized medicine.
“To date, numerous studies are being conducted – and he continues – aiming to better understand the mechanism of action of estrogen in regulating the immune response with a view to developing precise drug therapies. On the one hand, the search for therapeutic approaches capable of ‘simulating’ the beneficial immune action of estrogen, for example, is being conducted. To prevent atherosclerosis or some types of infections; on the other hand, we need drugs that selectively block hormonal action when it becomes undesirable, as is the case in some autoimmune diseases and some types of cancer.”
June 16, 2022
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