Gender Difference in the Non-Specific and Specific Immune Response in Humans

Authors

  • Annechien Bouman,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Martin Schipper,

    1. Transplantation Biology and Immunoendocrinology, Division of Medical Biology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory medicine, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Maas Jan Heineman,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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  • Marijke M. Faas

    1. Transplantation Biology and Immunoendocrinology, Division of Medical Biology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory medicine, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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Address reprint requests to Annechien Bouman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Deventer Ziekenhuis, Fesevurstraat 7, Postbus 5001, 7400 GC Deventer, The Netherlands.
E-mail: roerdink.bouman@wxs.nl

Abstract

Problem:  The purpose of this present ex vivo study is to get insight in the sex differences of the basic non-specific and specific immune response.

Method of study:  Intracellular types 1 and 2 cytokine production by stimulated male and female lymphocytes and monocytes in a whole blood preparation was measured by flow cytometry.

Results:  Increased percentage interleukin (IL)-12, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α producing monocytes and decreased percentage IL-2 producing lymphocytes, i.e. type 1 cytokine, were found in men as compared with women.

Conclusion:  These results suggest a gender difference in the balance between the specific and non-specific immune response, i.e. a more profound and higher state of excitation of the non-specific immune response and relative suppression of the cellular immune response of the specific immune system in men as compared with women.

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