Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How hormones and microbes drive the gender bias in autoimmune diseases

Date:
August 22, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Females can mount more powerful immune responses than males, but the flip side of this enhanced protection against infections is a greater risk for autoimmune disorders. A new study reveals that certain gut microbes prevalent in males can help protect them against type 1 diabetes. The study demonstrates that these microbes cooperate with sex hormones to cause this gender bias and provides an important framework that could lead to better treatments.

Females can mount more powerful immune responses than males, but the flip side of this enhanced protection against infections is a greater risk for autoimmune disorders. Shedding light on the underlying causes of the gender bias in autoimmune diseases, a study published by Cell Press August 22nd in the journal Immunity reveals that certain gut microbes prevalent in males can help protect them against type 1 diabetes. The study demonstrates that these microbes cooperate with sex hormones to cause this gender bias and provides an important framework that could lead to better treatments.

"The gender bias in major autoimmune diseases is well known but not well understood," says senior study author Alexander Chervonsky of the University of Chicago. "By studying how microbes cooperate with hormones to affect the immune system, we can identify pathways that can be triggered artificially by drugs or manipulations of gut microbes to interfere with the course of autoimmunity."

Sex hormones are known to play an important role in the gender bias of autoimmune diseases. But studies have shown that environmental influences and other non-hormonal factors also make a difference. For instance, animals that lack gut microbes because they were raised in a germ-free environment do not show a pronounced gender bias in type 1 diabetes, which is generally considered to be an autoimmune disorder. Until now, it has not been clear how hormones and microbes work together to influence the gender bias in type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.

In the new study, Chervonsky and his team found that microbial communities in male and female mice became different once the mice reached puberty, whereas microbes in females and castrated males were more similar to each other. These results suggest that sex hormones contribute to gender-specific changes in microbial communities. When the researchers raised mice in a germ-free environment and then exposed them to different types of bacteria, they discovered that only certain microbes specifically protected males against type 1 diabetes.

Taken together, the findings suggest that hormones and microbes cooperate with each other to protect males against autoimmune diseases. "Our study has helped to establish the general principles of how hormones and microbes interact with the immune system, which is the first significant step to get to the stage of developing new therapies."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Leonid Yurkovetskiy, Michael Burrows, Aly A. Khan, Laura Graham, Pavel Volchkov, Lev Becker, Dionysios Antonopoulos, Yoshinori Umesaki, Alexander V. Chervonsky. Gender Bias in Autoimmunity Is Influenced by Microbiota. Immunity, 22 August 2013 DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.08.013

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "How hormones and microbes drive the gender bias in autoimmune diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822122801.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, August 22). How hormones and microbes drive the gender bias in autoimmune diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822122801.htm
Cell Press. "How hormones and microbes drive the gender bias in autoimmune diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822122801.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins