Estrogen is a multitalented hormone. It plays a dominant role in the reproductive systems of women, but it's also instrumental in building strong bones. Now, research suggests that estrogen keeps the lungs working smoothly.
At the late-April Experimental Biology 2004 meeting in Washington, D.C., researchers reported that female mice deprived of estrogen by having their ovaries removed lost 45 percent of their working alveoli, the tiny sacs in the lungs that deliver oxygen to the bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide from it.
When given estrogen, the animals recovered full lung function, says Donald J. Massaro, a pulmonologist at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., who presented the findings.