New findings reveal that an immune cell's reaction to invading viruses is often linked to the age and sex of the individual. Its shows that immune cells will vary according to each person, and no standard response exists for everyone.

The University of Southern California (USC) made a study of a poorly understood type of white blood cell type, which indicates the body will combat any pathogen in its system.

Used in the study were mice, in which the males were likelier to suffer from sepsis than women in particular. But, the study discovered that female immune reaction is not that foolproof. Problems occur when female mice age like males.

The implications

Data have severe implications for disease research and treatment, especially in the case of sepsis. This condition wherein the body's defense response turns in a self-destructive mode, reported SciTech Daily.

When the focus is on finding the most effective cure, it will ignore the effects of age and sex.

According to Bérénice Benayoun, who is part of the study, she made several observations. Saying that personalized medicine is tailored for specific individuals with a minuscule difference, but sex and age are not a factor.

The researchers concentrated on neutrophils that make up about half to seventy percent of all white blood cells, which are crucial in fighting infections. The immune cell's reaction to invading viruses is via these kinds of white blood cells.

Recognizing sex and age-based disparities in neutrophil efficiency might help explain comparable discrepancies in human diseases. Like why older people, especially men, might have severe COVID-19 symptoms or why women are expected to have autoimmune disorders. 

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Neutrophils fight against infections in several ways, such as engulfing and consuming any invading pathogen, containing proteins that destroy the pathogen by degranulation.

They discovered in 2004 NETosis when neutrophils send out DNA strands call Chromatin that traps any pathogen outside the cell. These are called neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs that either catchers or destroys viruses.

Benayoun added a limit to NETosis that the body can take when killing pathogens, which will be healthy cells. Too many NETs in the body can be as worse as viruses themselves. 

Studying NETs

Neutrophils are not easy to examine due to their short lifespan. They are lasting only a day or less. The cells' brief lifetime is devoted as first responders, acting quickly to trap and destroy pathogens at the first sign of infection; they die in the process. 

Using AI to study the data, the study has seen the genetic pathways that are part of immune response regulation. That could explain why immune response function varies dramatically between men and women, a phenomenon known as sexual dimorphism. 

In the present epidemic, sex differences in immunity had manifested themselves. Most of the catastrophic COVID-19 deaths were men, with extensive research indicating the potential involvement of sex hormones in immunity. Scientists may be able to discover innovative ways to tackle serious sickness by analyzing such relationships.

Furthermore, these factors are hormonal effects on the immune systems. One way to fight sepsis is to use anti-androgens in the short term. This tones down the immune cell's reaction to invading viruses. You could tailor medicine depending on the number of androgens or estrogen depending on the person, as stated in Nature Aging.

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