Science-- there's something for everyone

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

For trauma, advantage—female

It’s well established that females recover more easily from traumatic injury than do males. Ed Childs led a team of scientists from Texas A& M in discovering why. Their work on rats showed that it’s estrogen that makes the difference.

Trauma (a physical assault on the body) can lead to extreme blood loss. This in turn, can result in hemorrhagic shock, a condition in which there is not enough blood to service all the body tissues. It is often associated with vascular hyperpermeability, in essence, an increased leakiness of blood out of blood vessel walls. The next step is often death.

Estrogen appears to prevent vascular hyperpermeability, probably due to effects on the cells mitochondria. Female rats have estrogen receptors on their mitochondria, but males do not. When those receptors were blocked, females faired no better than males in recovering from blood loss.

Photo Attribution : © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com