Extensive studies in both humans and animals have shown that females
express enhanced levels of immunoreactivity compared to males.
Whereas this provides females with increased resistance to
many types of infection, it also makes them more susceptible
to autoimmune diseases. This review will focus on
gender-related differences in non-specific host defense
mechanisms with a particular emphasis on monocyte/macrophage
function and a primary product of monocytes: interleukin-1
Immunomodulatory cytokines such as IL-1 are influenced
by gender-sensitive hormones, and reciprocally, these
cytokines influence gender-specific hormones and tissues.
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are predominantly
women, therefore it may be useful to look toward
gender-specific differences in immune function to find a key
for this poorly understood syndrome.
MCM: From 1994 AACFS meeting in Ft. Lauderdale