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J Dermatol Sci. 2008 Nov;52(2):79-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 May 16.

Sex hormones and urticaria.

Author information

1
Clinical Department of Internal Diseases, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland. kasperska@plusnet.pl

Abstract

Chronic urticaria is characterized by mast cells/basophils activation which initiate the inflammatory response. Pathogenetically, the disease may in many cases represent an autoimmune phenomenon. Altered function of the neuro-endocrine-immune system due to stress and other factors has also been implicated its pathogenesis. Sex hormones modulate immune and inflammatory cell functions, including mast cell secretion, and are regarded as responsible for gender and menstrual cycle phase-associated differential susceptibility and severity of some autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Chronic urticaria is approximately twice more frequent in women than in men. In addition, urticaria may be associated with some diseases and conditions characterized by hormonal changes, including endocrinopathy, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause and hormonal contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. Hypersensitivity reactions to endogenous or exogenous female sex hormones have been implicated in the pathogenesis of urticarial lesions associated with estrogen and autoimmune progesterone dermatitis. We observed lower serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) concentration in patients with chronic urticaria with positive and negative response to autologous serum skin test. Thus, the influence of fluctuations in the hormonal milieu and altered sex hormone expression on the triggering-off, maintenance or aggravation of urticaria should be taken into account. In addition, the possible impact of estrogen mimetics, in the environment and in food, on the development of disease associated with mast cell activation must be considered. This review endeavours to outline what is known about the possible influence of sex hormones in the expression of urticaria.

PMID:
18485675
DOI:
10.1016/j.jdermsci.2008.04.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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