Asthma and gender: The female lung

Pharmacol Res. 2017 May;119:384-390. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2017.02.017. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Asthma is a common chronic disease that affects over 300 million people worldwide, resulting in a considerable socio-economic burden. Literature data suggest that asthma has a higher incidence in females, particularly at certain stages of pubertal development. Moreover, women seem to experience more asthma symptoms than men and to use more rescue medications, resulting in a reduced quality of life. Although several mechanisms have been proposed to explain these differences, there are not yet final data available in the literature on the role of gender in the pathogenesis of asthma and different behavior in females. Some study suggested a more prevalent hyper-responsiveness in women than in men. Nevertheless, in the literature definitive data on a possible different response to drugs used for asthma between males and females are not described. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie these gender differences in clinical history of asthma patients could give inspiration to new areas of research to obtain a more specific diagnostic and therapeutic approach gender-oriented.

Keywords: Asthma; Bronchial responsiveness; Gender; Methacoline.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents