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12 Jun 2015

Stem Cell Research: Women Live Longer Than Men

Did you know, of the 53 living super-centenarians (who crossed their 110th birthday) in the world, 51 are women? Super-centenarian women live longer due to the effect of estrogen hormone on stem cells. Estrogen is the female sex hormone important for sexual and reproductive development. According to previous stem cell studies cited by the researchers of Stanford University, estrogen hormone is linked with stem cell maintenance.

Stem cells are known to have regenerative capabilities which slow down, as we age. The functional decline of stem cells is said to cause aging and researchers found that there is a link between gender and longevity as 95 per cent of the super-centenarians are female. Based on animal studies, researchers concluded that the estrogen hormone has a direct impact on the stem cell population in female mice which boosts the regenerative capability of brain cells. This in turn, results in the increased life span of female mice while the male mice were given estrogen supplements to increase their lifespan.

According to previous human studies, it was shown that eunuchs, the men who have been castrated lives approximately 14 years longer than non-eunuchs as castration prevents testosterone from being produced. Possibly, this protected the body from damaging effect and prolonged their life span by 14 years. They also found that the difference in stem cell aging in males and females may be linked with sexual dimorphism i.e., the physical differences between men and women. However, research studies on this relationship are limited and require more findings to support.

The emerging stem cell research tries to find answer whether the sex related stem cell aging has any consequence on diseases and life span. However, the researchers believe that gender plays a vital role in determining the health and life span of humans but it also requires extensive research to get a conclusive result.



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