Testosterone may be one reason why men don’t get asthma as much as women | Science News

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Testosterone may be one reason why men don’t get asthma as much as women

The male sex hormone keeps immune cells in mice lungs from revving up an allergic reaction

5:32pm, November 28, 2017
woman reaching for inhaler

CLEARING THE AIR  Adult women are about twice as likely to have asthma as men. New work in mice finds that testosterone impacts immune cells involved in the disease.

Testosterone may tamp down asthma caused by inhaling pollen, dust or other airborne allergens. That’s partly why more women suffer from the lung disease than men, new research suggests.

The male sex hormone acts on a group of immune cells that are part of the first line of the body’s defense against invaders. These cells are thought to kick-start inflammation in the lungs, which causes airways to narrow during an asthma attack. In mice exposed to an allergen, testosterone reduced the inflammatory response, researchers report in the Nov. 28 Cell Reports.

“How male and female sex hormones can affect the immune system is important for understanding the molecular and cellular basis of sex differences in diseases like asthma,” says Nicola Heller, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine not involved in the study. Such findings may lead to new

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