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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2009 Dec 1;6(7):588-95. doi: 10.1513/pats.200904-020RM.

Hormonal influences on lung function and response to environmental agents: lessons from animal models of respiratory disease.

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Ashuren Health Sciences, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


Numerous studies in humans and experimental animals have identified considerable sex differences in respiratory physiology and in the response of the lung to environmental agents. These differences appear to be mediated, at least in part, by sex hormones and their nuclear receptors. Moreover, animal models are increasingly used to study pathogenic mechanisms and test potential therapies for a variety of human lung diseases, many of which appear to be influenced by sex and sex hormones. In this article, data are summarized from studies of lung function and disease in which sex differences have been observed. Specific attention is paid to animal models of acute lung injury, nonallergic and allergic lung inflammation, and lung fibrosis. It is anticipated that continued investigation of the role of sex and sex hormones in animal models will provide valuable insight into the pathogenesis and potential treatments for a variety of acute and chronic human lung diseases.

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