Role of Microbiota in Sexually Dimorphic Immunity

Marlies Elderman, Paul de Vos, Marijke Faas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Sex differences in peripheral immune responses are well recognized. This is associated with sex differences in many immunological diseases. As the intestinal microbiota is known to influence the immune system, such sex differences in immune responses may be a consequence of sex-specific microbiota. Therefore, this mini-review discusses sex differences in intestinal microbiota and the possible role of microbiota in shaping sexually dimorphic immunity. Sex differences in microbiota composition are clearly found in mice studies and also in human studies. However, the lack of standardization in human studies may mask the sexual dimorphism in microbiota composition in human studies, since many factors such as age, genetic background, BMI, diet, and sex hormones appear to interfere with the sexual dimorphism in microbiota composition. Only a few mice studies found that differences in gut microbiota composition are causative for some aspects of sexually dimorphic immunity. Therefore, future studies should focus on a causal relationship between sexually dimorphic immunity and microbiota, considering the abovementioned interfering confounding factors. This would benefit the development of more sex-specific effective treatment options for immunological diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1018
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22-May-2018

Keywords

  • sex differences
  • microbiota
  • immunity
  • mice
  • humans
  • interfering factors
  • GUT MICROBIOTA
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA
  • FECAL MICROBIOTA
  • METABOLIC PHENOTYPES
  • GENDER-DIFFERENCE
  • DENDRITIC CELLS
  • ORAL TOLERANCE
  • OVARIAN CYCLE
  • LUTEAL-PHASE

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