Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 213–224 | Cite as

Androgen-dependent immune modulation in parasitic infection

  • Julie SellauEmail author
  • Marie Groneberg
  • Hannelore Lotter


Parasitic infections modulate the immune system of the host, resulting in either immune tolerance or the induction of pro-inflammatory defense mechanisms against the pathogen. In both cases, sex hormones are involved in the regulation of the immune response, as they are present in the systemic circulation and can act on a wide variety of cell types, including immune cells. Men and women have a different milieu of sex hormones, and these hormones play a role in determining immune responses to parasitic infections. Men, who have higher plasma levels of androgens than women, are generally more susceptible to parasitic infections. Many immune cells express the androgen receptor (AR), and the immunologic functions of these cells can be modulated by androgens. In this review, we will highlight the immune cell types that are sensitive to male steroid hormones and describe their roles during three parasitic diseases, amebiasis, leishmaniasis, and helminthiasis.


Sex hormones Androgens Sex difference Parasitic infections 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, Molecular Infection ImmunologyBernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical MedicineHamburgGermany

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