Sex differences in mouse models of asthma

Herng Yu Sucie Chang, Wayne Mitzner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Differences in disease susceptibility and prognosis between men and women are known to occur in the incidence and development of neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and immunological disorders. In the lung there are also sex-based differences in the incidence, prevalence, and pathogenesis of lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, COPD, and asthma. In the general population, sex-based differences in asthma have been shown by epidemiologic studies, but unfortunately these studies are not consistent in their conclusions. This variability in human epidemiological studies justifies the need for more focused studies of the effects of specific hormones. Such specific mechanistic studies can most easily be performed in animal models, and since mouse models have the potential for separating specific genetic factors from environmental and exogenous factors, this species has become increasingly important in the design, analysis, and interpretation of asthma research. This review will document the male and female differences in airway function of naïve and sensitized mouse models, as well as the great variability in the functional measurements of airway tone. Until the situation is better understood, this variability between males and females should be kept in mind when designing, analyzing, and interpreting studies of smooth muscle responses in animal models and human subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1226-1235
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Airway responsiveness
  • Female
  • Male
  • Methacholine challenge
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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