Background: Past research indicates a higher prevalence, incidence, and severe clinical manifestations of alpha-synucleinopathies in men, leading to a suggestion of neuroprotective properties of female sex hormones (especially estrogen). The potential pathomechanisms of any such effect on alpha-synucleinopathies, however, are far from understood. With that aim, we undertook to systematically review, and to critically assess, contemporary evidence on sex and gender differences in alpha-synucleinopathies using a bench-to-bedside approach. Methods: In this systematic review, studies investigating sex and gender differences in alpha-synucleinopathies (Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Behavior Disorder (RBD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)) from 2012 to 2022 were identified using electronic database searches of PubMed, Embase and Ovid. Results: One hundred sixty-two studies were included; 5 RBD, 6 MSA, 20 DLB and 131 PD studies. Overall, there is conclusive evidence to suggest sex-and gender-specific manifestation in demographics, biomarkers, genetics, clinical features, interventions, and quality of life in alpha-synucleinopathies. Only limited data exists on the effects of distinct sex hormones, with majority of studies concentrating on estrogen and its speculated neuroprotective effects. Conclusion: Future studies disentangling the underlying sex-specific mechanisms of alpha-synucleinopathies are urgently needed in order to enable novel sex-specific therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1204104
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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