Sex steroids as inflammatory regulators

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 May 31;120(2-3):105-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2009.12.015. Epub 2010 Jan 4.


It is becoming increasingly clear that endogenous sex steroids are key players in a range of inflammatory contexts. Androgens and estrogens have been shown to have a profound influence on the function of inflammatory cells including macrophages and on the secretion and activation of a range of plasma-borne inflammatory mediators. The menopause and polymorphisms in estrogen receptor genes have separately been shown to affect the incidence of a range of inflammatory disorders. Sex steroids themselves have been shown to be protective in certain conditions; harmful in others. This review will summarize their documented effects on inflammatory processes, with particular focus on two areas that have received much recent attention: the antiatherosclerotic properties of estrogens in females and the wound healing effects of sex steroids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Menopause / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Wound Healing


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones