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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

CUNY Researcher Shows Estrogen Protects Against Inflammation

Many common, chronic diseases are thought to have an inflammatory component. Biologically sex hormones are well-known to interact with the immune system. Generally testosterone suppresses immune response and estrogen promotes immune response, consistent with the greater vulnerability to autoimmune diseases among women than men after puberty. As such, estrogen would be expected to reduce the chronic systemic inflammation which characterizes common, chronic diseases, but given the harms of estrogen administration is unlikely to be tested in a randomized controlled trial. To avoid reverse causality and confounding, City University of New York researchers, including Dr. Mary Schooling, associate professor, School of Public Health, assessed the effects of genetically higher estrogen, and found evidence suggesting estrogen reduced inflammatory markers. Whether this finding relates to the lower levels of autoimmune diseases in populations or individuals with lower estrogen levels or underlies the protective role of estrogen in diabetes remains to be determined.