Higher androgen bioactivity is associated with excessive erythrocytosis and chronic mountain sickness in Andean Highlanders: a review

G F Gonzales, D Chaupis


Populations living at high altitudes (HA), particularly in the Peruvian Central Andes, are characterised by presenting subjects with erythrocytosis and others with excessive erythrocytosis (EE)(Hb>21 g dl(-1) ). EE is associated with chronic mountain sickness (CMS), or lack of adaptation to HA. Testosterone is an erythropoietic hormone and it may play a role on EE at HA. The objective of the present review was to summarise findings on role of serum T levels on adaptation at HA and genes acting on this process. Men at HA without EE have higher androstenedione levels and low ratio androstenedione/testosterone than men with EE, suggesting low activity of 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD), and this could be a mechanism of adaptation to HA. Higher conversion of dehydroepiandrosterone to testosterone in men with EE suggests nigher 17beta-HSD activity. Men with CMS at Peruvian Central Andes have two genes SENP1, and ANP32D with higher transcriptional response to hypoxia relative to those without. SUMO-specific protease 1 (SENP1) is an erythropoiesis regulator, which is essential for the stability and activity of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1α) under hypoxia. SENP1 reverses the hormone-augmented SUMOylation of androg...Continue Reading


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