Jan 23, 2016

The effects of sex hormones on immune function: a meta-analysis

Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Yong Zhi FooLeigh W Simmons


The effects of sex hormones on immune function have received much attention, especially following the proposal of the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis. Many studies, both experimental and correlational, have been conducted to test the relationship between immune function and the sex hormones testosterone in males and oestrogen in females. However, the results are mixed. We conducted four cross-species meta-analyses to investigate the relationship between sex hormones and immune function: (i) the effect of testosterone manipulation on immune function in males, (ii) the correlation between circulating testosterone level and immune function in males, (iii) the effect of oestrogen manipulation on immune function in females, and (iv) the correlation between circulating oestrogen level and immune function in females. The results from the experimental studies showed that testosterone had a medium-sized immunosuppressive effect on immune function. The effect of oestrogen, on the other hand, depended on the immune measure used. Oestrogen suppressed cell-mediated immune function while reducing parasite loads. The overall correlation (meta-analytic relationship) between circulating sex hormone level and immune function was not statist...Continue Reading

  • References150
  • Citations31
  • References150
  • Citations31

Mentioned in this Paper

Provision of Aids for Severely Handicapped
Testosterone Measurement
Meta-Analysis (Publications)
Meta Analysis (Statistical Procedure)
Gonadal Steroid Hormones

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