Sex Differences in the Neuroimmune System

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2018 Oct:23:118-123. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.05.007.


While sex differences in the peripheral immune response have been studied extensively, sex differences in the neuroimmune response, including glial activation and associated cytokine production in the brain, is a recently emerging field. Advances in our understanding of sex differences in the neuroimmune response have important implications for understanding how neural circuits are shaped during early brain development, how activation of the immune system may impact cognitive function and behavior, and how inflammation may be associated with the risk of mental health disorders that have strong sex-biases. The goal of this mini review is to highlight recent work in the field of sex differences in neuroimmune function, with a particular focus on how microglia function is influenced by age and sex hormone exposure.

Keywords: cytokines; hormones; mental health; microglia; neurodevelopment; sex differences.