Sex and the lung: Observations, hypotheses, and future directions

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Dec;50(12):1159-69. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23178. Epub 2015 Apr 23.


Sex-related differences in a variety of lung diseases in infants and young children are reviewed, including respiratory distress syndrome, and chronic lung disease of prematurity, lower respiratory tract illnesses and wheezing, asthma, diffuse, and interstitial lung diseases, and cystic fibrosis. Differences in anatomy and physiology, such as airway size, airway muscle bulk, airway reactivity, airway tone, and cough reflexes may explain much of these sex differences. Better understanding of sex-related lung differences could help personalize respiratory treatment.

Keywords: females; gender; male-female ratio of lung diseases; males; respiratory illness; sex.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / anatomy & histology*
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors