The vagina: therapeutic role of prasterone

The vagina: therapeutic role of prasterone

Linda Vignozzi1,2 – Orcid, Irene Scavello1 – Orcid, Elisa Maseroli1 – Orcid, Vincenzo Di Stasi– Orcid, Sarah Cipriani1,2 – Orcid

1 – Department of Biomedical, Experimental and Clinical Sciences “Mario Serio”, University of Florence

2 – SODc Andrology, Female Endocrinology and Gender Incongruence, Careggi University Hospital, Florence

Corresponding author: Linda Vignozzi

linda.vignozzi@unifi.it


DOI: 10.53146/lriog1202123

Abstract

Genitourinary menopause syndrome (GSM) is a chronic, progressive condition, which results from the effects of estrogenic and androgenic deficiency typical of menopausal age. It involves the genitourinary district and occurs with an extremely wide range of signs and symptoms. Dyspareunia, both superficial and deep, is among the main and most distressing symptoms of the GSM. Over the decades, different therapeutic approaches have been developed, aimed at improving the symptomatology and thus the quality of life of women, such as local estrogenic therapy, which until now has been considered the gold standard of GSM treatment. A new Prasterone formulation has recently been approved, which is biochemically and biologically identical to that of the endogenous human DHEA, an inactive steroid precursor that can be converted into estrogen and androgen into vaginal cells. The rationale of the use of prasterone is the theory of intracrinology, which is the proven ability of vaginal cells to convert an inactive compound into an active form. This molecule, absorbed locally, determines only a minimum increase in circulating hormonal values, which remains be- low the threshold of physiologic levels for menopausal women.

Keywords: prasterone; genitourinary syndrome; menopause; atrophy.


Available in LRIOG Nr.2 – 2021

e-ISSN: 1824-0283


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The vagina: emerging evidence on the anti-inflammatory role of testosterone

The vagina: emerging evidence on the anti-inflammatory role of testosterone

Linda Vignozzi1,2– Orcid, Elisa Maseroli1 – Orcid, Ilaria Cellai2, Sandra Filippi3, Paolo Comeglio2, Sarah Cipriani2 – Orcid, Irene Scavello2 – Orcid, Giulia Rastrelli2 – Orcid, Margherita Frison2, Mario Maggi2 – Orcid

1 – SODc Andrology, Female Endocrinology and Gender Incongruence, Careggi University Hospital, Florence

2 – Department of Biomedical, Experimental and Clinical Sciences “Mario Serio”, University of Florence

3 – Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmaceutical and Child Health Area, University of Florence

Corresponding author: Linda Vignozzi

linda.vignozzi@unifi.it


DOI: 10.53146/lriog1202122

Abstract

The female genitourinary tract is constantly exposed to infectious and inflammatory insults. Inflammation is an essential mechanism, usually able to restore tissue homeostasis; however, uncontrolled and self-maintaining inflammation can lead to dysfunctional processes, which may contribute to the onset of chronic conditions affecting the female genitourinary tract. These include the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM), characterized by vulvovaginal atrophy and symptoms of the lower urinary tract. The primary cause of GSM is a drop of estrogen levels at menopause; however, a decline in androgen level and chronic inflammation also play a pathogenic role. Androgen signaling generally suppress the activity of immune cells. In recent years, androgens have been described to play a key role in maintaining vaginal health, by positively regulating vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle and collagen growth and function, nerve density and function, and genital hemodynamics. Recent in vitro evidence also suggests an anti-inflammatory action of androgens within the vagina. In fact, it has been shown that hu- man vagina smooth muscle cells are able to be involved in the inflammatory response, behaving as resident nonprofessional antigen presenting cells and producing cytokines, chemokines and growth factors. Testosterone, ac- ting through its more active metabolite DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), seems to exert a relevant anti-inflammatory effect on vagina smooth muscle cells, blunting their ability to respond to inflammatory stimuli and to perpetuate inflammation. In particular, DHT counteracts the secretion of Interferon (IFNg), the most potent Th1 cytokine, which plays a key role in development of autoimmunity and chronic, self-perpetuating inflammatory diseases. These data suggest that androgens represent a potential therapeutic strategy for the GSM and other inflammatory conditions of the female genitourinary tract, to be further investigated in clinical studies.

Keywords: androgens; menopause; vagina; inflammation; infection.


Available in LRIOG Nr.2 – 2021

e-ISSN: 1824-0283


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