A new study published in Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology reveals what high testosterone levels do to women’s immune systems.
The study has discovered a link between female hormone levels and antibody production in response to hepatitis B immunization.
The study discovered a negative relationship between testosterone and immunological responses and a positive relationship between estradiol and immune responses.
“The relationship between steroid sexual hormones and immunological responses is an intriguing field of research. This is because there is still so much to learn,” said study author Javier I. Borráz-León of the University of Turku and the University of Chicago’s Center for Mind and Biology.
“As a result, we decided to contribute to this research by investigating the relationship between two sex hormones (i.e., testosterone and estradiol) and the development of antibodies against hepatitis B in young-healthy women, about whom even less is known than in males.”
The trial included 55 young, healthy Latvian women who were given two doses of a hepatitis B vaccine. The researchers took blood samples before the first immunization. This is one month after the first vaccination, and one month after the second vaccination. This is in order to examine hormone levels and antibody generation.
Findings from the Study on What High Testosterone Levels Do to Women’s Immune Systems
The researchers discovered that higher testosterone levels in women were linked to a lower immunological response. This is one month after the first immunization.
Previous study revealed a “possible inhibitory influence of T levels on antibody formation, or a potential suppressive effect of the immunological response on T levels,” according to the researchers. Higher estradiol levels, on the other hand, were linked to a stronger immunological response one month following the second vaccine.
“I think our findings allow us to highlight sex disparities in immune function. Also, its link with sex hormones,” Borraz-Leon added.
“Since women experience considerable hormonal variations throughout their menstrual cycle, we believe it is critical to include the individual’s sex as an important element when performing an experiment of this type as well as when interpreting the results.”
The researchers also saw a decline in testosterone levels between the first and second vaccinations. However, no significant changes in estradiol levels were identified across the three time periods.
“We think it’s quite fascinating that we were able to see variations in testosterone (but not estradiol) concentrations. This is in relation to the development of antibodies against hepatitis B in women,” Borraz-Leon added. “Why only testosterone and not estradiol? This is a question that should be addressed in future research.”
“One of the most interesting problems we want to solve is how the endocrine system and the immune system interact.” The researcher went on to say. “That is, how does hormone synthesis directly affect antibody production (and other immunological markers) and, in turn, how does antibody production govern hormone production?”
What is Antibody Production?
Antibody manufacturing, also known as immunoglobulin production, is the process by which immune system specialized cells known as B cells make antibodies in response to an antigen.
Antigens are foreign substances that enter the body and activate the immune system. When an antigen enters the body, it is identified by B cells that have a specific antigen receptor. The B cells eventually mature into plasma cells, which are specialized cells that produce vast quantities of antibodies.
Antibodies are proteins that can attach to the antigen that triggered their creation and mark the antigen for elimination by other immune system cells.
The process of producing antibodies is a key aspect of the adaptive immune response. This enables the immune system to recognize and respond to a wide range of infections.
Antibodies generated during an immune response can provide protection against subsequent infections with the same organism. Vaccines operate by increasing the creation of antibodies against specific pathogens, which can protect against infection without causing disease.
Now that we understand what antibody production is, let’s briefly look at hormone production.
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What is Hormone Production?
A hormone is a chemical substance created in the body’s specialized cells or glands and released into the bloodstream. Hormones operate as messengers, connecting with numerous organs and tissues to regulate and govern a variety of physiological processes. This processes include growth and development, metabolism, reproduction, and stress response.
Hormones are essential for maintaining the balance of the body’s internal environment, known as homeostasis, and play an important part in general bodily functioning. Also, hormones are produced by a variety of organs and tissues throughout the body, including the adrenal glands, pituitary gland, thyroid gland and pancreas.
Let’s look much deeper into hormone production.
The process by which specialized cells or glands in the body manufacture and release hormones into the bloodstream to regulate various biological activities is referred to as hormone production.
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by endocrine glands such as the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, and pancreas that help regulate a variety of physiological functions, including metabolism, growth and development, reproduction, and stress response.
A complicated feedback system involving numerous organs and hormones in the body tightly regulates hormone production.
Hormone production and release are influenced by a variety of factors, including age, gender, stress, food, and environmental influences. Any interruption in the hormone production process can result in hormonal imbalances, which can lead to a variety of health issues such as diabetes, thyroid diseases, and infertility.
How does Antibody Production Govern Hormone Production
Antibodies and hormones are two separate components of the body’s immune and endocrine systems, and their synthesis is unrelated. But, in some situations, the immune system might indirectly influence hormone production.
Some autoimmune illnesses, for example, can disrupt the endocrine system by causing the body to create antibodies that attack and damage the cells in the endocrine glands, resulting in hormonal abnormalities.
An example of this is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune illness in which the body creates antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism.
Hormone abnormalities, on the other hand, can have an impact on the immune system, causing alterations in antibody production. Thyroid hormones, for example, are essential for immunological function, and changes in thyroid hormone levels can modify the body’s immune response and impact antibody formation.
In conclusion, while antibody and hormone production are not directly associated, they can influence each other indirectly through a variety of processes, including autoimmune illnesses and the impact of hormones on immunological function.