[ASC-media] Male sex hormones and heart disease

Samantha Lucia lucias at hri.org.au
Mon Apr 5 10:20:18 EST 2004

Heart Research Institute

Male sex hormones and heart disease

For immediate release Monday 5 April 2004
A team of scientists has discovered that men are more susceptible to heart
disease than women because of their sex hormones. This may have great
implications in understanding heart disease and the use of hormone
replacement therapy in men.
³Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the western world. And
young men are twice as likely to develop it than women,² Dr Alison Death,
Group Leader from the Heart Research Institute, said.
The innovative team took the unique stance that male sex hormones,
androgens, help cause an early onset of heart disease in men. Rather than
the more popular view that female sex hormones, estrogens, protect women
against the disease.
³This is quite serious as there is an international increase in therapeutic
androgen use,² Dr Death added. ³Androgens are known to possess good
therapeutic qualities which ease the male version of menopause, andropause,
by increasing general wellbeing and vitality.²
These good qualities have spurred a 20-fold increased use of androgen
replacement medication in the USA since the 1990¹s.
In their research, the team discovered that androgens trigger the initial
steps towards heart disease in men.
³Androgens cause the blood vessel lining, endothelium, to become really
sticky. This attracts inflammatory cells, which are normally found
travelling in the blood, and triggers them to enter and live in the vessel
Once in the wall, they eat the bad cholesterol, causing plaque to build-up
and kick-start heart disease.
We need to make sure that the good qualities of androgens outweigh the bad
if they¹re to be used in male hormone treatment.
Our next challenge is to isolate the good qualities of androgens, so that
they can be used to produce therapeutic medication that will improve overall
wellbeing without leading to heart disease,² Dr Death said.
The team will define the negative effects of male hormones, which lead to
heart disease, so that designer androgens can be made for therapeutic
This research was a collaboration between the Heart Research Institute and
the ANZAC Research Institute.
The Heart Research Institute is a not-for-profit organisation which strives
to prevent, reverse and diagnose heart disease economically and universally.

For more information or interview and image opportunities, please contact:

Samantha Lucia ­ Communications Officer ­ Heart Research Institute
Phone: 61 2 9550 3560
Mobile: 0414 736 017
Email: media at hri.org.au

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