Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Interferon-alpha; Dendritic Cells; Imidazoles
Immunology and Infectious Disease | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Sex differences in response to microbial infections, especially viral ones, may be associated with Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated responses by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs).
RESULTS: In this study, we identified sex differences in human infant pDC interferon-alpha production following challenge with the TLR7/8 agonist R-848. Male pDC responses were significantly lower than those of females during early infancy. This difference may be attributed to the androgen surge experienced by males during the early infancy period. Pretreatment of human pDCs with dihydrotestosterone produced a significant reduction in interferon-alpha production following R-848 challenge.
CONCLUSIONS: Androgen-mediated regulation of pDC TLR7-driven innate immune responses may contribute to the observed sex differences in response to infections during early infancy.