Background: Sex related differences in the course and severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) could be mediated by the sex hormones.
Objective: To investigate the relation between serum sex hormone concentrations and characteristics of tissue damage on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in men and women suffering from relapsing-remitting MS.
Results: Serum testosterone was significantly lower in women with MS than in controls. The lowest levels were found in women with a greater number of gadolinium enhancing lesions. A positive correlation was observed between testosterone concentrations and both tissue damage on MRI and clinical disability. In men, there was a positive correlation between oestradiol concentrations and brain damage.
Conclusions: The hormone related modulation of pathological changes supports the hypothesis that sex hormones play a role in the inflammation, damage, and repair mechanisms typical of MS.
- DHEAs, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate
- EDSS, expanded disability status scale
- FSH, follicle stimulating hormone
- Gd, gadolinium
- LH, luteinising hormone
- RRMS, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
- sex hormones
- brain damage
- multiple sclerosis
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Competing interests: none declared