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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Jul;95(1):104-12. Epub 2003 Mar 28.

Androgen-mediated modulation of macrophage function after trauma-hemorrhage: central role of 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone.

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Department of Research, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-0019, USA.


Androgens have been implicated as the causative factor for the postinjury immune dysfunction in males; however, it remains unknown whether androgens directly affect macrophages. To study this, male mice were sham operated or subjected to trauma (i.e., midline laparotomy) and hemorrhagic shock (mean arterial pressure, 30 +/- 5 mmHg for 90 min and then resuscitated). The mice received the 5alpha-reductase inhibitor 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OHA) before resuscitation. Plasma TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 levels were elevated after trauma-hemorrhage and normalized by 4-OHA. TNF-alpha and IL-6 production by splenic macrophages was decreased after injury, whereas Kupffer cell production of these mediators was enhanced. 4-OHA normalized cytokine production. Androgens suppressed cytokine production by splenic macrophages from hemorrhaged mice, whereas it enhanced TNF-alpha and IL-6 production by Kupffer cells. The addition of 4-OHA in vitro normalized cytokine production by cells treated with testosterone, but it had no effect on dihydrotestosterone-treated cells. These results indicate that androgens directly affect macrophage function in males after trauma and hemorrhagic shock and that the intracellular conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone is of particular importance in mediating the androgen-induced effects.

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