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Open access

Christos Tsatsanis, Angel Elenkov, Irene Leijonhufvud, Katerina Vaporidi, Åsa Tivesten, and Aleksander Giwercman

Background

The risk of inflammatory diseases is sex-dependent, but it remains unknown whether this is due to the impact of sex hormones or sex chromosomes. Transgender individuals represent a unique cohort for studying the relative influence of endocrine and chromosomal factors. Here we compared serum levels of B-cell activating-factor (BAFF) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in transgender men (TM), transgender women (TW), cisgender women (CW) and cisgender men (CM).

Methods

BAFF and TNF were measured in the serum of 26 CW, 30 CM, 27 TM and 16 TW individuals. To determine the responsiveness of immune cells, TNF was measured in bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated peripheral leukocytes.

Results

BAFF was higher in CF (998 pg/mL) and TW (973 pg/mL) compared to CM (551 pg/mL) (P < 0.0001) and TM (726 pg/mL) (P < 0.0001). No difference in BAFF levels was shown between subjects grouped according to the number of X chromosomes. TNF was higher in CM (174 pg/mL) than TW (2.3 pg/mL) (P = 0.027) and TM (27.4 pg/mL) (P = 0.028). LPS-induced TNF was higher in CM (2524 pg/mL) and TM (2078 pg/mL) than in CW (1332 pg/mL) (both P < 0.0001) and TW (1602 pg/mL) (both P = 0.009).

Discussion

Sex hormones and sex chromosomes have different impacts on cytokines involved in the sex-dependent inflammatory response. The concentration of BAFF and LPS-stimulated TNF secretion depended on sex hormone levels, whereas basal TNF was regulated by both sex hormone-dependent and -independent factors.

Open access

Eleftherios E Deiktakis, Eleftheria Ieronymaki, Peter Zarén, Agnes Hagsund, Elin Wirestrand, Johan Malm, Christos Tsatsanis, Ilpo T Huhtaniemi, Aleksander Giwercman, and Yvonne Lundberg Giwercman

Objective

During androgen ablation in prostate cancer by the standard gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist treatment, only luteinizing hormone (LH) is permanently suppressed while circulating follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) rebounds. We explored direct prostatic effects of add-back FSH, after androgen ablation with GnRH antagonist, permanently suppressing both gonadotropins.

Methods

The effects of recombinant human (rFSH) were examined in mice treated with vehicle (controls), GnRH antagonist degarelix (dgx), dgx + rFSH, dgx + flutamide, or dgx + rFSH + flutamide for 4 weeks. Prostates and testes size and expression of prostate-specific and/or androgen-responsive genes were measured. Additionally, 33 young men underwent dgx-treatment. Seventeen were supplemented with rFSH (weeks 1–5), and all with testosterone (weeks 4–5). Testosterone, gondotropins, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and inhibin B were measured.

Results

In dgx and dgx + flutamide treated mice, prostate weight/body weight was 91% lower than in controls, but 41 and 11%, respectively, was regained by rFSH treatment (P = 0.02). The levels of seminal vesicle secretion 6, Pbsn, Nkx3.1, beta-microseminoprotein, and inhibin b were elevated in dgx + rFSH-treated animals compared with only dgx treated (all P < 0.05). In men, serum inhibin B rose after dgx treatment but was subsequently suppressed by testosterone. rFSH add-back had no effect on PSA levels.

Conclusions

These data provide novel evidence for the direct effects of FSH on prostate size and gene expression in chemically castrated mice. However, in chemically castrated men, FSH had no effect on PSA production. Whether FSH effects on the prostate in humans also require suppression of the residual adrenal-derived androgens and/or a longer period of rFSH stimulation, remains to be explored.