Previous results have shown that when compared to male Syrian hamsters, female Syrian hamsters have a distinct predisposition to acquire amyloidosis either normally with aging or experimentally with sodium caseinate or diethylstilbestrol (DES) treatments. In the present study, we tested the influence of testosterone on expression of amyloid to determine if this hormone was solely responsible for the sex-limited amyloidosis of the Syrian hamster. Males deprived of testosterone by castration acquired amyloid at an unusually young age, an age of onset similar to that in female hamsters. Also, the amyloidogenic effect of DES in male Syrian hamsters was inhibited by concomitant injections of testosterone, indicating that estrogens induce amyloid in male hamsters by inhibiting testosterone synthesis. When administered to female hamsters, testosterone inhibited expression of amyloid in aging female Syrian hamsters and extended the life span of this gender. Of the two components of amyloid, the major component Amyloid A-derived fibril or the minor constituent, Amyloid P component, only the P component is under sex hormone control in the Syrian hamster; testosterone inhibits the hepatic synthesis of the P component homologue (called female protein), which is normally expressed 100-200-fold greater in female vs. male Syrian hamster. In general, the serum level of female protein under various experimental conditions correlated with the presence of amyloid and indicated that in the Syrian hamster the P component homologue is of primary importance in the deposition of amyloid.

This content is only available as a PDF.