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Female mice exposed to influenza A have greater inflammation and lung responsiveness compared to male mice
Background: Murine models have been extensively used to study lung development and physiology, and it is apparent that there is sexual dimorphism in various aspects of these processes. Sex differences in immune function are well established in both animals and humans, with males typically displaying weaker humoral and cell-mediated immune responses.
Methods: We infected male and female weanling (3 wks old) and adult (8 wks old) BALB/c mice with influenza A and measured lung function, hyperresponsiveness to methacholine (Mch) and inflammatory responses during the acute infectious stage (4 days after inoculation) and after recovery (day 21).
Results: During the acute infectious stage, there were significant effects of influenza infection on airway resistance (Raw), tissue damping (G), tissue elastance (H) and number/type of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) for both males and females of both ages when compared to media controls. Greater responses were seen in adult females than in adult males (e.g. G: p = 0.020; H: p = 0.016; macrophages: p = 0.003; neutrophils: p = 0.003), and in weanling females compared to weanling males, especially in the lung parenchyma. Most parameters had returned to baseline levels 21 days after influenza inoculation in both age groups and sexes.
Conclusions: We’ve shown increased lung hyperresponsiveness and inflammatory responses in female mice exposed to influenza A compared to male mice. These results are contrary to most previous research, which indicate that males are generally more susceptible to respiratory viral infections.
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of publicationAustralia
Event titleThoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting 2009
Event VenueDarwin, Australia
Date of Event (Start Date)2009-03-01
Date of Event (End Date)2009-03-01