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Strong epidemiological evidence now exists that sex is an important biologic variable in immunity. Recent studies, for example, have revealed that sex differences are associated with the severity of symptoms and mortality due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Despite this evidence, much remains to be learned about the mechanisms underlying associations between sex differences and immune-mediated conditions. A growing body of experimental data has made significant inroads into understanding sex-influenced immune responses. As physicians seek to provide more targeted patient care, it is critical to understand how sex-defining factors (e.g., chromosomes, gonadal hormones) alter immune responses in health and disease. In this review, we highlight recent insights into sex differences in autoimmunity; virus infection, specifically severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection; and cancer immunotherapy. A deeper understanding of underlying mechanisms will allow the development of a sex-based approach to disease screening and treatment.


Nicole M Wilkinson, Ho-Chung Chen, Melissa G Lechner, Maureen A Su. Sex Differences in Immunity. Annual review of immunology. 2022 Apr 26;40:75-94

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PMID: 34985929

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