, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 177-192

Sexual dimorphism in innate immune responses to infectious organisms

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Abstract

Gender has long been known to be a contributory factor in the incidence and progression of disorders associated with immune system dysregulation. More recently, evidence has accumulated that gender may also play an important role in infectious disease susceptibility. In general, females generate more robust and potentially protective humoral and cell-medated immune responses following antigenic challenge than their male counterparts. In contrast, males have frequently been observed to mount more aggressive and damaging inflammatory immune responses to microbial stimuli. In this article we review the evidence for sexual dimorphism in innate immune responses to infectious organisms and describe our recent studies that may provide a mechanism underlying gender-based differences in conditions such as bacterial sepsis.