• Cytokines;
  • lymphocytes;
  • men;
  • monocytes;
  • women

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.