corona virus-Covid19

Immune Mediators Contribute to More Severe COVID-19 Infection in Men Interview with:
Gizem Kilic MSc, PhD Candidate}
Radboud University Medical Center
Department of Internal Medicine
Laboratory of Experimental Internal Medicine
Nijmegen What is the background for this study?

Response: Having emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019, novel coronavirus infection 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) has become a major health crisis affecting worldwide. Although the disease symptoms are mild in most of the cases, it is known that advanced age and co-morbidities such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases increase the risk of disease severity. Moreover, epidemiological data from different countries indicated that the mortality rate is higher in males compared to females. There are reports suggesting that some viral and bacterial infection are sex-biased; however, why males are more susceptible to develop severe COVID-19 infection has not been fully understood yet. What are the main findings?

Response: In our study, we analyzed the immune cell populations and levels of inflammatory proteins in blood in healthy individuals and compared whether these parameters are different between females and males in two European cohorts. We found that certain T cell subsets such as naïve, memory and naïve CD4+ cells which were known to decrease with increasing COVID-19 infection severity is lower in healthy males. Furthermore, inflammatory proteins such as IL-8, HGF and MCP-1 which have been reported to be higher in COVID-19 patients in intensive care units were higher in healthy males compared to healthy females. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our results suggest that immune mediators contributing to more severe COVID-19 infection are already intrinsically present in healthy males. Therefore, sex-dependent differential baseline characteristics of immune system such as circulating inflammatory proteins and immune cells in blood might explain why males are more susceptible to develop severe infection. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Genetics is a major determinant in immune system functioning and responses. To understand the differences in immune system parameters between males and females better, similar analyses are needed to be performed in healthy cohorts with different genetic backgrounds. Furthermore, identifying the variations between male and female immunity and responses during COVID-19 infection will help scientists to develop more efficient vaccines and treatment strategies to fight against this disease.

No disclosures.


ECCVID abstract:

Sex-dependent Differential Immune Profile Linked with COVID-19Infection Severity in Healthy Individuals


Last Modified: [last-modified] 

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Last Updated on September 29, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD