Experimental and clinical data about the influence of sex hormones on the course of multiple sclerosis (MS) grow rapidly during the past two decades. Estrogens, progesterone, and androgens have been shown to ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in animals, and pregnancy in women is associated with a dramatic reduction in disease activity. Immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties of sex hormones are the most probable underlying mechanisms, creating a background for testing similar hormonal treatments in humans. Several pilot studies in this field present promising results, but larger trials are necessary to identify the adverse events and to estimate precisely the place of sex steroids in multiple sclerosis therapeutic strategies.
Part of the book: Trending Topics in Multiple Sclerosis