Androgen and androgen receptors as determinants of vascular sex differences across the lifespan

Lucas-Herald, A. K. and Touyz, R. M. (2022) Androgen and androgen receptors as determinants of vascular sex differences across the lifespan. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 38(12), pp. 1854-1864. (doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2022.09.018) (PMID:36156286)

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Androgens, including testosterone and its more potent metabolite, dihydrotestosterone, exert multiple actions in the body. Physiologically they play a critical role in male sex development. In addition, they influence vascular function including arterial vasodilation and mediation of myogenic tone. Androgens are produced from 9 weeks gestation in the human fetal testis, as well as in small amounts by the adrenal glands. Serum concentrations vary according to age and sex. The vasculature is a target for direct actions of androgens, which bind to various sex hormone receptors expressed in endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. Androgens exert both vasoprotective and vasoinjurious effects depending on multiple factors including sex-specific effects of androgens, heterogeneity of the vascular endothelium, differential expression of androgen and sex hormone receptors in endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells and the chronicity of androgen administration. Chronic administration of androgens induces vasoconstriction and influences endothelial permeability, while acute administration may have opposite effects. At the cellular level, androgens stimulate endothelial cell production of nitric oxide and inhibit pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, inducing vasorelaxation and vasoprotection. However androgens also activate endothelial production of vasoconstrictors and stimulate recruitment of endothelial progenitor cells. In humans, both androgen deficiency and androgen excess are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This review discusses how androgens modulate vascular sex differences across the lifespan by considering the actions and production of androgens in both sexes and describes how cardiovascular risk is altered as levels of androgens change with aging.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:ALH is funded by the NES/CSO Joint Clinical Lectureship scheme.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lucas-Herald, Dr Angela and Touyz, Professor Rhian
Authors: Lucas-Herald, A. K., and Touyz, R. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Canadian Journal of Cardiology
ISSN (Online):1916-7075
Published Online:22 September 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Inc.
First Published:First published in Canadian Journal of Cardiology 38(12): 1854-1864
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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