Several epidemiological studies have reported that gender differences exist in clinical and biological manifestations of human lung diseases. In particular, women are far more likely to develop both neoplastic and non-neoplastic lung diseases than men. This gender difference above suggests that sex steroid may be involved in the pathogenesis of various lung diseases. These sex steroids mediate their effects through sex steroid receptors including estrogen receptors (ER) i.e. ERα and ERβ progesterone receptors (PR) i.e. PR-A and PR-B and androgen receptors (ARs), all of which have been reported to be expressed in lung tissue. Therefore it becomes important to clarify the potential roles of sex steroid receptor in both neoplastic and non-neoplastic lung diseases toward improved treatment options for the patients. In this review, we summarized a number of studies in humans and experimental animals that have identified possible roles of sex steroids in respiratory physiology and pathology.
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