Medical Research

Tulane University

James McLachlan, John McLachlan, Franck Mauvais-Jarvis
New Orleans, LA
June 2019

Across the animal kingdom, it is well-known that males and females exhibit different immune responses with females responding more robustly in nearly all cases.  The reasons for this difference are not entirely understood.  For females, this disparity may be beneficial in combatting infections, but can also be detrimental due to a greater incidence of many autoimmune diseases.  A team of Tulane University investigators serendipitously discovered that males and females appear to have evolved the ability to trigger immunity differently in traditional (lymphoid) and non-traditional (non-lymphoid) organs throughout the body.  To help decipher these responses, the team proposes to investigate how immune cells in these organs are differentially activated by a variety of challenges and how hormones and sex chromosomes regulate the unique differences of immune cells in these distinctive tissues.  A better understanding of the contribution of lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs to alterations in immunity between sexes will provide a greater awareness of how these immune systems have evolved and will allow for improved precision when treating men and women for various diseases.

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