Gender specific physiology: How real is it? How important is it?

Marianne J. Legato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A predominantly male model of disease, and thus a tendency to restrict medical investigation to men, has led to a skewing of our perceptions of both normal human physiology and the pathophysiology of illness. Because of social and economic factors, research programs focused on aspects of women's health and disease (other than reproductive) have become more common over the past decade. The present literature review of gender-specific physiology covers the roles of gonadal hormones, especially in the nervous system; depression; the cytochrome P-450 system; the cardiovascular system; the immune system; saliva; and the gastrointestinal tract. All in all, there are revealed important differences, and some surprising similarities, between the genders in disease conditions and drug responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Fertility and Women's Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • (review article-90 references)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • CNS
  • Cytochrome P-450 (system)
  • Depression
  • Estrogen
  • Saliva
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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