Classification: News

4 December

Nature reports on estrogen as a male hormone

Though scientists know that both estrogen and testosterone play important
functions in both males and females, the simplistic notion that estrogen
is "a female hormone" and testosterone "a male hormone" persists.

Scientists at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have reported
(Nature, 4 December 1997, Hess et al) yet another vital function of estrogen
in men. Hess and his team found that the testes

in male mice lacking receptors for estrogen quickly degenerate, leaving
the mice sterile. The effect

appears to be due to a failure of the  efferent tubes which normally
transport immature sperm to the epidydimis, where the sperm mature.

"Suddenly, the idea of 'male' and 'female' hormones begins to look thin,"
noted Hess's colleague

Kenneth Korach.