We have recently observed a link between gender and the species barrier in the transmission of TSEs to mice. Gender effects are also observed in other age dependent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease (AD) and Parkinsons disease (PD), which may suggest the identity of common pathogenic pathways. While these effects could be caused by several factors, the most obvious explanation is that they are mediated by gender-specific hormonal influences. This review covers host factors that influence the transmission of TSEs as they relate to gender. The relationship between the phenomenology of prion disorders and other neurodegenerative diseases is discussed, which anticipates a role for sex steroid hormones in the control of the mechanisms of neurodegeneration.
Keywords: transmissible encephalopathies, alzheimer disease, parkinson disease, sex steroid hormones
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