Men Have a Stronger Monocyte-Derived Cytokine Production Response upon Stimulation with the Gram-Negative Stimulus Lipopolysaccharide than Women: A Pooled Analysis Including 15 Study Populations

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  • Karel G M Beenakker
  • Westendorp, Rudi GJ
  • Anton J M de Craen
  • Sijia Chen
  • Yotam Raz
  • Bart E P B Ballieux
  • Rob G H H Nelissen
  • Alexander F L Later
  • Tom W Huizinga
  • Pieternella E Slagboom
  • Dorret I Boomsma
  • A. B. Maier

The incidence of bacterial infections and sepsis, as well as the mortality risk from sepsis, is sex specific. These clinical findings have been attributed to sex differences in immune responsiveness. The aim of the present study was to investigate sex differences in monocyte-derived cytokine production response upon stimulation with the gram-negative stimulus lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using cytokine data from 15 study populations. Individual data on ex vivo cytokine production response upon stimulation with LPS in whole blood were available for 4,020 subjects originating from these 15 study populations, either from the general population or from patient populations with specific diseases. Men had a stronger cytokine production response than women to LPS for tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-12, IL-1β, IL-1RA, and IL-10, but not for interferon-γ. The granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production response was lower in men than in women. These sex differences were independent of chronological age. As men had higher monocyte concentrations, we normalized the cytokine production responses for monocyte concentration. After normalization, the sex differences in cytokine production response to LPS disappeared, except for IL-10, for which the production response was lower in men than in women. A sex-based approach to interpreting immune responsiveness is crucial.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Innate Immunity
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.

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