Hormone could offer new biomarker to predict men’s health
Researchers have discovered the vital role of a hormone, which develops in men during puberty, in providing an early prediction of the possibility of them developing certain diseases later in life.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have found that the new insulin-like peptide hormone called INSL3 is constant over long periods of time and is an important early biomarker for predicting age-related diseases. Their latest findings were published today in Frontiers in Endocrinology.
INSL3 is made by the same cells in the testes that make testosterone, but unlike testosterone which fluctuates throughout a man’s life, INSL3 remains consistent, with the level at puberty remaining largely the same throughout. a man’s life, diminishing only slightly in old age. This makes it the first clear and reliable predictive biomarker of age-related morbidity compared to any other measurable parameter.
The results show that the level of INSL3 in the blood correlates with a range of age-related diseases, such as bone weakness, sexual dysfunction, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The discovery of the constant nature of this hormone is very important because it means that a man with a high INSL3 when he is young will always have a high INSL3 when he is older. But someone with low INSL3 already at a young age, will have low INSL3 when they are older, making them more susceptible to typical age-related diseases. This opens up exciting possibilities for predicting age-related diseases and finding ways to prevent the onset of these diseases through early intervention.
The research was led by Professor Ravinder Anand-Ivell and Professor Richard Ivell and is the latest of three recent studies* on this hormone.
The team analyzed blood samples from 3,000 men from 8 regional centers in northern, southern, eastern and western Europe, including the UK, with two samples taken at four years apart. The results showed that unlike testosterone, INSL3 remains at constant levels in individuals
The study also showed that the normal male population, even when young and relatively healthy, still shows a large variation between individuals in the concentration of INSL3 in the blood – almost 10 times.
Reference: Ivell R, Heng K, Severn K, et al. The Leydig cell biomarker INSL3 as a predictor of age-related morbidity: results from the EMAS cohort. Front. Endocrinol. 2022;13. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2022.1016107.
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