Sex Differences in Infectious and Autoimmune Diseases

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter begins with a discussion of sex differences in death rates and disease susceptibility. It then discusses sex differences in infectious diseases, covering susceptibility to viruses, bacteria, and parasites. This is followed by discussion of sex differences in autoimmune diseases, immunological differences between the sexes, sex steroid-immune interactions, and the influence of genetic factors on sex differences in disease susceptibility. The sexes differ in their responses to infectious and autoimmune diseases. The intensity and prevalence of infectious diseases typically are higher in males than females; conversely, the prevalence and severity of autoimmune diseases are greater in females than males. Endocrine-immune interactions play a fundamental role mediating responses to diseases. Because sex steroid concentrations differ dramatically between the sexes, to date, most studies have focused on characterizing the role of sex steroids as mediators of sex differences in immune function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSex Differences in the Brain
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Genes to Behavior
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199865048
ISBN (Print)9780195311587
StatePublished - Dec 4 2007


  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Disease susceptibility
  • Immune function
  • Infectious disease
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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