Sex Hormones Could Influence Alzheimer’s Development, Researchers Say

University of Western Ontario researchers have discovered that sex hormones may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The neurodegenerative condition affects roughly 32 million people globally and is characterized by disruptive symptoms such as poor judgment, memory loss and loss of sense of initiative.

With two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients being women, researchers from the University of Western Ontario sought to understand the role of female sex hormones in how the disease develops in the brain. Some researchers posit that women develop Alzheimer’s disease at higher rates because they tend to live longer than men, while others say a gene on the X chromosome can encourage tau protein accumulation.

A 2022 study theorized that the presence of two X chromosomes in women increases their chances of having tau protein in their brain, which in turn raises their likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.  Scientists are now looking into the possibility that sex hormones may also be involved in how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain.

Findings from a 2022 mouse model indicated that increased follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels during perimenopause are linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. The University of Western Ontario research team used the premise that brain chemical changes can affect and lead to amyloid pathology, which has a major association with  Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Vania Prado, senior study author and professor in the Departments of Physiology, Pharmacology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a scientist at the University of Western Ontario’s Robarts Research Institute, said the team examined the connection between neurotransmitter acetylcholine and Alzheimer’s pathology. Acetylcholine plays a key role in cognition and normal memory, but the brain cells that secrete it are vulnerable to damage from Alzheimer’s linked amyloid accumulation in the brain.

The research team focused on a female hormone called estradiol, which aids in maintaining the female reproductive cycle. Researchers found that its presence reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by eliminating the relationship between toxic amyloid and acetylcholine. Female mice who had minimal or zero sex hormones had an enhanced acetylcholine-toxic amyloid collection and potentially higher chances of increased Alzheimer’s pathology.

Based on this finding, women who experience reduced estradiol levels during perimenopause may be at more risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Prado said there may also be evidence of low estradiol levels affecting how neural immune cells respond to amyloid and that decreased levels of the female hormone may increase amyloid pathology.

Several other entities, such as Longeveron Inc. (NASDAQ: LVGN), are also focusing on aging-related conditions, and the outcomes of their studies could shed more light on how Alzheimer’s starts and develops in those who are diagnosed with this condition.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Longeveron Inc. (NASDAQ: LGVN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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