A Single Hormone in Men May Predict Their Future Health : ScienceAlert

New research reveals that several age-related diseases, including bone weakness, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, can be predicted by a single hormone that appears to be at a constant level throughout men’s lifetimes.

This hormone is INSL3, and it first appears during puberty. From then on, their level only drops slightly in old age. This consistency and the early age at which it emerges make INSL3 valuable to scientists and possibly men’s health.

New research suggests that someone with lower INSL3 levels at a younger age will likely also have lower hormone levels in old age. If that translates into a greater risk of health complications, these health risks could potentially be managed years ago, as the study suggests.

“Understanding why some people are more likely to develop disability and disease as they get older is vital so that interventions can be found that will enable people to not only live longer but also healthy lives,” says reproductive endocrinologist Ravinder Anand-Ivell. from the University of Nottingham in England.

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“Our hormone discovery is an important step towards understanding this and will not only help people individually, but also help alleviate the care crisis we face as a society.”

INSL3 is made by the same cells that produce testosterone in the testicles; INSL3, unlike testosterone, does not fluctuate when men become adults.

The researchers took samples from more than 2,200 men at eight different regional centers in Europe to monitor the level of INSL3 in their blood. Men’s INSL3 levels remained stable over time and also varied significantly between individuals, enough to discriminate against health risks.

The researchers suggest that blood levels of INSL3 are reliably related to the number and health of Leydig cells in the testicles – having fewer of these cells and less testosterone has also been linked to numerous health problems later in life.

“Now that we know the important role this hormone plays in predicting disease and how it varies among men, we turn our attention to finding out which factors have the most influence on blood INSL3 levels,” says molecular endocrinologist Richard Ivell. University of Nottingham.

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“Preliminary work suggests that early life nutrition may play a role, but many other factors, such as genetics or exposure to certain environmental endocrine disruptors, may also play a role.”

Among nine morbidity categories, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, that participants reported in questionnaires, INSL3 was associated with an increased risk of morbidity in eight (only depression found no correlation in this study).

But when the researchers adjusted for other hormonal and lifestyle factors, such as BMI and smoking status, most of these associations with INSL3 were lost, with the exception of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

And when testing whether INSL3 levels in blood samples from a subset of men were predictive of health outcomes roughly four years later, lower hormone levels were associated with seven of the nine comorbidity categories. But again, this was without taking other factors into account.

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One area scientists are keen to explore in future studies is how INSL3’s strong association with testosterone relates to sexual health, but this has not been covered in detail in this particular piece of research.

The researchers conclude that future studies should “focus on longer timescales to determine whether INSL3 measured in young or middle-aged men…

If the link between INSL3 and these health risks is established through further studies, and if scientists can pinpoint why this link exists, it means that preparations can be made much sooner to try and detect – and stop – a variety of age-related health problems. problems caused.

“The holy grail of aging research is to reduce the fitness gap that occurs as people age,” says Anand-Ivell.

Research published Boundaries in Endocrinology.

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