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Women's immune systems remain younger for longer

Date:
May 15, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Women’s immune systems age more slowly than men's, new research suggests. The slower decline in a woman’s immune system may contribute to women living longer than men.

Women's immune systems age more slowly than men's, suggests research in BioMed Central's open access journal Immunity & Ageing. The slower decline in a woman's immune system may contribute to women living longer than men.

Researchers looked at the blood of healthy volunteers in Japan, ranging in age between 20 and 90 years old; in both sexes the total number of white blood cells per person decreased with age. The number of neutrophils decreased for both sexes and lymphocytes decreased in men and increased in women. Younger men generally have higher levels of lymphocytes than similarly aged women, so as aging happens, the number of lymphocytes becomes comparable.

Looking in more detail it became apparent that the rate in decline in T cells and B cells was slower for women than men. Both CD4+ T cells and NK cells increased with age, and the rate of increase was higher in women than men. Similarly an age-related decline in IL-6 and IL-10 was worse in men. There was also a age-dependent decrease in red blood cells for men but not women.

This difference in the aging of immune systems between men and women is one of many processes which alter as we grow older. Prof Katsuiku Hirokawa from the Tokyo Medical & Dental University Open Laboratory explained, "The process of aging is different for men and women for many reasons. Women have more oestrogen than men which seems to protect them from cardiovascular disease until menopause. Sex hormones also affect the immune system, especially certain types of lymphocytes. Because people age at different rates a person's immunological parameters could be used to provide an indication of their true biological age."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katsuiku Hirokawa, Masanori Utsuyama, Yoshio Hayashi, Masanobu Kitagawa, Takashi Makinodan and Tamas Fulop. Slower immune system aging in women versus men in the Japanese population. Immunity & Ageing, 2013; 10: 19

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Women's immune systems remain younger for longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514213056.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, May 15). Women's immune systems remain younger for longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514213056.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Women's immune systems remain younger for longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514213056.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

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