Sex Hormones and Immunity to Infection

Sex Hormones Immunity to InfectionSex Hormones and Immunity to Infection, edited by Sabra L. Klein and Craig Roberts and published by Springer, critically reviews the evolutionary origin and the functional mechanisms responsible for sexual dimorphism in response to infection.

Recent research suggests that sex hormones regulate immune responses in vivo. Thus, estrogens and testosterone regulate humoral immune responses i.e. (auto)antibody production; where estrogen increases, while testosterone decreases antibody production. Sex hormones also regulate cellular immunity, by affecting T lymphocytes, including T cell proliferation and cytotoxicity and T helper(Th) 1 and Th2 cellular responses.

In contrast to autoimmunity where females display an increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, the prevalence and intensity of infection typically is higher in males than females and may reflect differences in exposure as well as susceptibility to pathogens. Elevated immunity among females is a double-edged sword in which it is beneficial against infectious diseases but is detrimental in terms of increased development of autoimmune diseases.

The book emphasizes the value of examining responses in both males and females to improve our understanding about host-pathogen interactions in both sexes. Sex Hormones and Immunity to Infection aims at bringing insight to the treatment and management of infectious diseases; it delineates areas where knowledge is lacking and highlights future avenues of research.

The contributors of Sex Hormones and Immunity to Infection are experts in their specific disciplines which range from microbiology and immunology to genetics, pathology, and evolutionary biology.


  • Sex Differences in Susceptibility to Infection: An Evolutionary Perspective
  • Effects of Sex Steroids on Innate and Adaptive Immunity
  • Sex Steroid Receptors in Immune Cells
  • Sex Differences in Susceptibility to Viral Infection
  • Sex Differences in Innate Immune Responses to Bacterial Pathogens
  • Sex Hormones and Regulation of Host Responses Against Parasites
  • Sex Differences in Parasitic Infections: Beyond the Dogma of Female-Biased Resistance
  • Progesterone, Pregnancy, and Innate Immunity
  • Pregnancy and Susceptibility to Parasites
  • Sex Steroids and Risk of Female Genital Tract Infection
  • Sex, Pregnancy and Measles

Hardcover: 332 pages; Publisher: Springer; 2010 ed. edition (13 Nov. 2009)

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