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Gender and kidney diseases: the clinical importance and mechanisms of modifying effects

Author(s): Katarzyna Grzegorczyk | Magdalena Krajewska | Wacław Weyde | Katarzyna Jakuszko | Andrzej Gniewek | Marian Klinger

Journal: Postępy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej
ISSN 0032-5449

Volume: 65;
Issue: 846636;
Start page: 849;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: różnice płci | choroby nerek | hormony płciowe | Czynniki ryzyka | gender/sex differences | kidney disease | sex hormones | progression risk factors

This review focuses on the underlying pathways of gender-dependent renal diseases and presents specific examples of diseases influenced by gender. In the literature it has been shown, in many clinical and experimental observations, that the incidence and the rate of progression of renal disease are influenced by many gender-dependent factors, such as kidney and glomerular size, differences in glomerular hemodynamics, and direct effects of sex hormones on renal tissue and signal pathways such as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and signal molecules (e.g. nitric oxide, reactive oxygen species, cytokines and growth factors). It has been shown that the main female hormone, 17 β estradiol, is capable of inhibiting inflammatory and pro apoptotic processes and protects the renal tissue. In contrast, the male hormones, testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone, have the opposite effect. Hormonal manipulation by male or female castration changes the course of renal disease progression and confirms the influence of the sex hormones. Female gender is therefore considered a protective factor in many kidney diseases, such as primary glomerulonephritis, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and hypertensive nephropathy. Similarly, women are more predisposed to autoimmune diseases with secondary glomerulonephritis, e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus, as the female sex hormones have the ability of autoimmune process activation. After menopause the protective effect of female gender is not observed, which confirms the role of the female sex hormones.
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