Sex hormones modulate brain damage in multiple sclerosis: MRI evidence

V. Tomassini, E. Onesti, C. Mainero, E. Giugni, A. Paolillo, M. Salvetti, F. Nicoletti, Carlo Pozzilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sex related differences in the course and severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) could be mediated by the sex hormones. Objective: To investigate the relation between serum sex hormone concentrations and characteristics of tissue damage on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in men and women suffering from relapsing-remitting MS. Results: Serum testosterone was significantly lower in women with MS than in controls. The lowest levels were found in women with a greater number of gadolinium enhancing lesions. A positive correlation was observed between testosterone concentrations and both tissue damage on MRI and clinical disability. In men, there was a positive correlation between oestradiol concentrations and brain damage. Conclusions: The hormone related modulation of pathological changes supports the hypothesis that sex hormones play a role in the inflammation, damage, and repair mechanisms typical of MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-275
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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