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A new study suggested that testosterone may help protect men from asthma.The researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center found a protein linked to lung inflammation, and that testosterone can reduce the production of this particular protein.
Cytokines are the proteins discovered by the researchers that are associated with lung inflammation.These proteins are used as cell signaling molecules to assist communication between immune cells.It also stimulates these immune cells to act quickly at sites where infection, inflammation, and trauma occurred.Interleukin and interferon are agents of cytokines responsible for this immune response against infection and inflammation.
The innate lymphoid cells or ILCs are cells capable of producing cytokines.These cells play an important role in the immune system and inflammation.Any abnormality in their regulatory process, whether metabolic, physiological or psychological, can lead to allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.
The group 2 of ILCs react to allergens that go into the lungs.The ILC2s produce the IL-13 cytokine which induces allergic reactions, leading to asthma-like symptoms.These cells were also found in higher concentrations in patients with atopic dermatitis, according to a study published in 2011.
The researchers from Vanderbilt investigated the possible role of testosterone in asthma.It has been suggested that sex hormones might be involved in asthma because most boys have a higher prevalence rate than girls.According to a published paper in March 2017, the female hormone estrogen increases airway inflammation, while the male testosterone decreases it.
"This change occurs around puberty, making us interested in how sex hormones are regulating inflammation with asthma," said Dawn Newcomb, a research assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and the lead author of the study.
Newcomb and colleagues analyzed the blood samples from men and women with and without asthma.They looked into the cells responsible for lung inflammation and mucus secretion.The researchers discovered that women with asthma had twice the amount of ILC2 cells in their blood compared to men with the disorder.
The researchers tested the interaction of both estrogen and testosterone on ILC2s.They found that testosterone reduced the cell's production of cytokines, while estrogen and progesterone did not affect it.
However, Newcomb clarified that the cause of asthma is solely based on sex hormones.There are other factors that can contribute to the development of the disorder such as obesity.The study was focused on the airway inflammation but other mechanics, such as the interaction of nerve cells to airway constriction, were not included in the study.
"I think the findings could be applied as we as an asthma community are trying to develop better therapeutics for patients with asthma," said Newcomb.
Asthma: An Inflammation of the Lungs
Asthma is a disorder characterized by the chronic inflammation of the lungs' airways.People with asthma easily react with chemicals and substances that are considered minor irritants for normal people.Their airways are hyperactive and will become inflamed by inhaling allergens and irritants.
Stressors or triggers of asthma include vigorous exercise or activities, inhalation of cold air, and exposure to polluted air.Symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.Babies and toddlers are most vulnerable to asthma because of their small airways.Asthma-like symptoms may also exhibit themselves in other medical conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and upper respiratory tract infection.
Asthma is often associated with food allergies and eczema.For parents, carefully and slowly introduce a new food into your baby's diet and monitor their body's reaction.Foods like nuts, dairy products, fish and shellfish, soy products, and eggs can cause allergies.About 50 percent of children with asthma may outgrow the disorder, but it may return when they reach adulthood, starting at age 20.About 30 percent of cases of asthma in adults are triggered by allergies.
Asthma Treatment Considerations
The medical treatment of asthma covers acute episodes and chronic symptoms, including exercise-induced and nocturnal symptoms.Medications for the disorder include agents that control and manage asthma symptoms.
- Inhaled corticosteroids with single or combined medications.Side effects include yeast infection in the mouth and hoarseness.
- Oral corticosteroids in pill or liquid form.Side effects include increased thirst and blurred vision.
- Inhaled long-active beta-2 agonists that open up air passages during asthma attacks.Side effects include increased heart rate and palpitations.
- Oral beta-2 agonists.Side effects include sleeplessness and tremors.
- Short-acting beta 2 agonists that act within minutes to provide temporary relief.Side effects include anxiety and racing heart.
- Anticholinergics that block involuntary muscle movements in certain diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.A dry mouth can be a side effect of its use.
- Leukotriene modifiers that interfere asthma-causing receptors.Side effects include sleeping problems and rapid heartbeat.
- Oral methylxanthines that relax and open up constricted bronchi of the lungs.Side effects include upset stomach and insomnia.
- Cromolyn and nedocromil to block the release of histamine and other inflammatory agents.Side effects include shortness of breath and skin rash.
- Anti-immunoglobulin E used to neutralize the monoclonal antibody IgE responsible for allergy and inflammation.