Aging male rats develop progressive glomerulosclerosis, proteinuria, and loss of renal function, whereas females are remarkably resistant to the development of these abnormalities. Although sex hormones appear to contribute to gender-related differences in the development of glomerulosclerosis in aging rats, it is not clear that sexual dimorphism characterizes glomerular obsolescence in aging humans. To study this question further, the glomerular histology of males and females ranging in age from infancy to 90 years was compared in 250 autopsy specimens. We found no differences between the sexes in the development of glomerulosclerosis in aging humans. These data disprove the hypothesis that testosterone is an important factor contributing to progressive glomerulosclerosis in aging men. Conversely, any renoprotective effects of estrogen would be limited by the onset of menopause because significant glomerulosclerosis did not develop until after the age of 50 years.
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