The role of sex steroids and puberty on respiratory function
Frodella, Christa Marie
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Exercise-induced anaphylaxis (EIA) is a rare severe disease in which patients express asthmatic and allergic symptoms. Little is known about EIA and its pathology. This manuscript presents an hypothesis that combined hormonal (estrogen and progesterone) contraceptive use and stress during puberty alter the immune system and predispose the adult female to EIA. Presented here is what is known about asthma, a much more common disease, and a pilot, experimental paradigm in which EIA is induced in Syrian hamsters. Asthmatic and allergic cases are much more prevalent in pubescent and adult females than in adult males. Women express higher levels of lung inflammation at stages of their lives when estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest (i.e., the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle and menopause). Combined birth control pills have been utilized by doctors to treat asthmatic women. Contraceptive treatments maintain steady levels of estrogen and progesterone throughout the menstrual cycle. It is hypothesized that if female hamsters are given constant levels of hormones as well as ovalbumin and exercise challenges during puberty and then have the hormones taken away during adulthood, they will produce abnormal lung sounds and corresponding pathological histology. To test this hypothesis, female Syrian hamsters were treated with ovalbumin, exercise challenge, both and none (the control). They were also treated to maintain constant levels of estrogen and progesterone during puberty. Although the results were inconclusive, the model may demonstrate that constant ovarian hormones, ovalbumin sensitization, and exercise challenges permanently strain the immune system of females in adulthood.
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