Adaptive immunity to rhinoviruses: Sex and age matter

Carroll, Melanie L., Yerkovich, Stephanie T., Pritchard, Antonia L., Davies, Janet M. and Upham, John W. (2010) Adaptive immunity to rhinoviruses: Sex and age matter. Respiratory Research, 11 184-1-184-7. doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-184

Author Carroll, Melanie L.
Yerkovich, Stephanie T.
Pritchard, Antonia L.
Davies, Janet M.
Upham, John W.
Title Adaptive immunity to rhinoviruses: Sex and age matter
Journal name Respiratory Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1465-9921
Publication date 2010-12-31
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1465-9921-11-184
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 11
Start page 184-1
End page 184-7
Total pages 7
Place of publication London , United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Rhinoviruses (RV) are key triggers in acute asthma exacerbations. Previous studies suggest that men suffer from infectious diseases more frequently and with greater severity than women. Additionally, the immune response to most infections and vaccinations decreases with age. Most immune function studies do not account for such differences, therefore the aim of this study was to determine if the immune response to rhinovirus varies with sex or age.


Blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 63 healthy individuals and grouped by sex and age (≤50 years old and ≥52 years old). Cells were cultured with rhinovirus 16 at a multiplicity of infection of 1. The chemokine IP-10 was measured at 24 h as an index of innate immunity while IFNγ and IL-13 were measured at 5 days as an index of adaptive immunity.


Rhinovirus induced IFNγ and IL-13 was significantly higher in ≤50 year old women than in age matched men (p < 0.02 and p < 0.05) and ≥52 year old women (p < 0.02 and p > 0.005). There was no sex or age based difference in rhinovirus induced IP-10 expression. Both IFNγ and IL-13 were negatively correlated with age in women but not in men.


This study suggests that pre-menopausal women have a stronger adaptive immune response to rhinovirus infection than men and older people, though the mechanisms responsible for these differences remain to be determined. Our findings highlight the importance of gender and age balance in clinical studies and in the development of new treatments and vaccines. © 2010 Carroll et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Keyword Epithelial-cell line
Respiratory viruses
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number 184

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 27 Feb 2011, 00:01:50 EST