Traditionally the role of sexual steroid hormones was focused primarily on reproductive organs: the breast, female reproductive tract (uterus, mammary gland, and ovary), and male reproductive tract (testes, epididymis and prostate), however our current understanding of tissue-specific effects of sex steroids has elucidated new aspects in its functionality. Recent data have shown that many other tissues are targets of those hormones in addition to classical reproductive organs. The pancreas (which performs both endocrine and exocrine functions), has proven to be an extragonadal target of sexual steroid hormone action. The endocrine pancreas has a pivotal role on carbohydrate homeostasis and deterioration in function produces diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that has high prevalence worldwide, particularly in developing countries. It has been shown that steroid hormones have an important role in susceptibility and development of diabetes in animal models, in humans its role is less clear, however the most evident effect is on the perimenopausal women, in this stage the decrease in gonadal steroids produces an increase on susceptibility to develop diabetes mellitus; in men, hypoandrogenism is associated with an increased prevalence of insulin resistance. This review focused on the effects of sexual steroids on pancreatic function and diabetes.
Keywords: ESTROGENS AND DIABETES, glucokinase, B-cells, insulin deficiency, pancreatic function, insulin resistance, deterioration, carbohydrate homeostasis, extragonadal target, androgens, estrogens, diabetes, pancreas, Sexual steroids
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