Encyclopedia of Parasitology

2016 Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Sex Steroid Hormones

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-43978-4_2884

General Information

In addition to sex-specific effects, sex steroid hormones also influence a variety of other functions like metabolism and immune response. It is therefore not astonishing that these hormones are also involved in parasite – host interactions and there is abundant evidence for gender-specific parasitic infection rates. But so far it is difficult to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for these interactions because of opposite effects in nearly related species (Table 1). Immunomodulatory effects alone are certainly not sufficient to explain all effects of the host’s sex steroid hormones on parasites since e.g., growth and  fecundity are also affected. Whereas the effects of host hormones on parasites have often been investigated there is much less information available on the influence of the parasite on the host’s sex steroid hormones.
Sex Steroid Hormones, Table 1

Sex differences in reaction to parasitic infections


Higher susceptibility in hosts




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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016