Estrogen is responsible for slow wound healing in women

April 2, 2012

Estrogen causes wounds in women to heal slower than in men - who have lower levels of estrogen - says a new study published in the April 2012 issue of the FASEB Journal. In the report, scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, provide the first evidence that mild injury response in the eye is fundamentally different in males and females because of estrogen. This discovery provides new clues for successfully treating a wide range of inflammatory diseases such as dry eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and scleroderma.

"We hope that our finding will spur research efforts into delineating sex-specific differences and estrogen regulation of intrinsic circuits that determine the outcome of healthy and routine injury responses," said Karsten Gronert, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the University of California, Berkeley, Vision Science Program, School of Optometry in Berkeley, Calif. "Auto-immune diseases in general are not triggered by a single event; hence, understanding what leads to a recurrent dysregulation of fundamental injury responses may help us treat and/or prevent the development of female-specific diseases."

To make this discovery, Gronert and colleagues administered a mild abrasion injury to the front of the eye of genetically similar male and , and analyzed wound healing by image analysis. To test the role of estrogen, they gave male mice estrogen eye drops and/or drugs that activate specific estrogen receptors. Gene expression of essential enzymes was quantified for the formation of protective lipid signals, specific receptors that mediate their bioactivity, as well as estrogen receptors in mouse corneas and human/mouse epithelial . The formation of protective lipid signals was analyzed by a mass-spectrometry based lipidomic method. They found that estrogen negatively affects a highly evolved protective lipid circuit, called "15-lipoxygenase-Lipoxin A4" that has recently emerged as an important protective pathway in many diseases. This pathway balances the activity of pro-inflammatory signals to promote wound healing and to keep inflammation within safe ranges.

"This study goes a long way to explaining gender differences in inflammation and its resolution," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the . "It's long been known that women suffer more than men from chronic such as lupus or ; this study suggests that estrogen itself is responsible for that difference and pinpoints the molecular pathways that estrogen affects. Molecules that promote the resolution of inflammation show promise as new treatments for autoimmune disease."

Explore further: Study shows estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check

Related Stories

Study shows estrogen works in the brain to keep weight in check

October 20, 2011
A recent UT Southwestern Medical Center study found that estrogen regulates energy expenditure, appetite and body weight, while insufficient estrogen receptors in specific parts of the brain may lead to obesity.

Study shows loss of key estrogen regulator may lead to metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis

September 6, 2011
UCLA researchers demonstrated that loss of a key protein that regulates estrogen and immune activity in the body could lead to aspects of metabolic syndrome, a combination of conditions that can cause Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis ...

UH researchers explore treatments for breast and colon cancers

August 22, 2011
University of Houston (UH) researchers have their sights set on developing possible treatments for breast and colon cancer.

Study explains why men are at higher risk for stomach cancer

July 13, 2011
Several types of cancer, including stomach, liver and colon, are far more common in men than in women. Some scientists have theorized that differences in lifestyle, such as diet and smoking, may account for the discrepancy, ...

This is your brain on estrogen

October 4, 2011
It's no secret that women often gain weight as they get older. The sex hormone estrogen has an important, if underappreciated, role to play in those burgeoning waistlines.

Recommended for you

Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

August 17, 2017
Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, ...

Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer

August 17, 2017
A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally ...

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicine

August 17, 2017
A new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers showing the consequence of their corresponding protein levels for overall patient survival. The difference in expression patterns ...

Female mouse embryos actively remove male reproductive systems

August 17, 2017
A protein called COUP-TFII determines whether a mouse embryo develops a male reproductive tract, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The ...

New technique overcomes genetic cause of infertility

August 17, 2017
Scientists have created healthy offspring from genetically infertile male mice, offering a potential new approach to tackling a common genetic cause of human infertility.

Inhibiting a protein found to reduce progression of Alzheimer's and ALS in mice

August 17, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with Genetech Inc. and universities in Hamburg and San Francisco has found that inhibiting the creation of a protein leads to a reduction in the progression of Alzheimer's disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.