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Testosterone, Estradiol Levels May Play Role in Sex Differences in Asthma

TUESDAY, Oct. 8, 2019 -- Sex hormones seem to play a role in known sex differences in asthma in adults, with the effects modified by obesity, according to a study published online Sept. 16 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Yueh-Ying Han, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of serum levels of free testosterone and estradiol and current asthma in 7,615 adults aged 18 to 79 years who participated in the 2013-2014 and the 2015-2016 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers observed a correlation for free testosterone levels in the fourth quartile with lower odds of current asthma in women (odds ratio for quartile 4 versus 1, 0.56). After stratification of the analysis by obesity, elevated free testosterone and estradiol levels correlated with reduced odds of current asthma in obese women (odds ratios for quartile 4 versus 1, 0.59 and 0.44, respectively); in nonobese men, elevated serum estradiol correlated with lower odds of current asthma (odds ratio for quartile 4 versus 1, 0.44).

"Our study results suggest that the circulating sex hormones estradiol and free testosterone contribute to sex differences in asthma among adults," a coauthor said in a statement. "Furthermore, obesity appears to modify the effect of such hormones on asthma in women and men."

One author disclosed receiving research materials from Merck, GSK, and Pharmavite.

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Posted: October 2019

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