Sex differences in immune responses to infectious diseases



The influence of sex hormones is recognized to account for the susceptibility and distinct outcomes of diverse infectious diseases.


This review discusses several variables including differences in behavior and exposure to pathogens, genetic, and immunological factors.


Understanding sex-based differences in immunity during different infectious diseases is crucial in order to provide optimal disease management for both sexes.

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This review was written in honor of Gerd Fätkenheuer’s 60th birthday. He has been our teacher for over a decade and we would like to thank him for his excellent teaching—both in internal medicine and infectious diseases but also in science and politics. He taught us to systematically look for all the puzzle pieces, to find a plausible diagnosis, to never give up, to take responsibility for our decisions, and to never forget the ultimate goal—the best for the patient. CL and JF are supported by the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF). NR’s research is supported by funding from Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD; funded by the DFG within the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB 670).

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The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Clara Lehmann.

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Fischer, J., Jung, N., Robinson, N. et al. Sex differences in immune responses to infectious diseases. Infection 43, 399–403 (2015).

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  • Sex
  • Immunity
  • Infectious diseases