Sex differences in susceptibility to viral infection

Sabra L. Klein, Sally Huber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

41 Scopus citations


Males and females differ in their susceptibility to a variety of viral pathogens. Although behavioral factors can influence exposure to viruses, several studies illustrate that physiological differences between males and females cause dimorphic responses to infection. Females often exhibit reduced susceptibility to viral infections because they typically mount stronger immune responses than males. Innate recognition and response to viruses as well as downstream adaptive immune responses differ between males and females during viral infections. This often results in sex differences in cytokine responses to infection that play a critical role in determining susceptibility to viruses. Immune responses to viruses can vary with changes in hormone concentrations naturally observed over the menstrual or estrous cycle, from contraception use, and during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSex Hormones and Immunity to Infection
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9783642021558
ISBN (Print)9783642021541
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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