Australian researchers have found that male hormones have the potential to prevent heart damage by helping vessels around the heart regenerate.
It is known that the female hormone estrogen helps blood vessels regenerate both in the uterus after menstruation and around the heart after wear and tear.
However, not much is known about whether or not men make up for a lack of the female hormone.
Some researchers have said that owing to this disparity, men tend to suffer worse heart attacks more often and earlier in life than women.
However, researchers have found that this trend may be due to a drop in androgens, a collective term for male hormones, as men age.
Cells derived from the umbilical cord of a human male foetus responded to androgens by moving and multiplying-activities associated with new vessel growth.
In addition, castrated mice, which produced fewer androgens, fared poorly after the researchers inflicted vessel damage intended to resemble injuries that occur during a heart attack or a stroke.
And treating the castrated mice with androgens hastened their recovery.
Thus, the authors suggest that androgen replacement therapy might one day be used to treat men at risk for heart disease.
The therapy currently receives attention for possibly inducing other rejuvenating benefits, such as increased energy and muscle mass.
However, it's been approached with caution as androgens have been shown to assist in tumour growth in prostate cancer-perhaps by stimulating tumour-promoting vessel growth.
The study has been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.