Immunologic Research

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 91–106

Understanding sex biases in immunity

Effects of estrogen on the differentiation and function of antigen-presenting cells
  • Greg Nalbandian
  • Susan Kovats
Article

Abstract

The initiation and perpetuation of innate and adaptive immunity is dependent on the ability of professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to sense in flammatory stimuli; produce cytokines; and internalize, degrade, and present antigens via surface major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. Dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages, and B lymphocytes express estrogen receptors, indicating that the steroid sex hormone estrogen might directly modulate the function of these cells during immune responses. Sex-specific parameters of immune function have been identified during autoimmunity and the pathogenesis of infectious disease, which show sex biases in their incidence and manifestation; female immunity also varies as estrogen levels change. In this article, we summarize studies that demonstrate effects of estrogen on the differentiation or function of APCs in model in vitro systems, or under circumstances of natural or imposed variation in estrogen levels in vivo.

Key Words

Antigen-presenting cells Estrogen Immunoendocrinology Sex hormone Dendritic cells Autoimmunity 

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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greg Nalbandian
    • 1
  • Susan Kovats
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of ImmunologyCity of Hope Beckman Research InstituteDuarte

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