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      Sex steroids, glucocorticoids, stress and autoimmunity

      , , , , ,

      The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

      Elsevier BV

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          Effects of gender and sex steroids on the immune response.

          Elevated immune responses and the higher incidence of autoimmune diseases in female (compared to male) humans and animals have been known for a long time. However, the scientific interest in this interrelationship has been limited both amongst immunologists and endocrinologists. It is mainly in the last ten years that investigations in this area have been intensifying. A number of fairly recent review articles confirm the increased interest in various aspects of this "interdiscipline" [1-4]. In the present paper we should like to make a new assessment of the state of knowledge. We shall firstly discuss heteroimmune response differences between males and females in humans, rodents and birds and then the roles of gender and sex hormones in autoimmune disease in various species. The general conclusions are the following. Gender and sex hormones have a clear effect on various hetero- and auto-immune responses but the mechanisms of action are still unknown; starting from sex hormones, steroids can be devised which have favourable effects on immune processes but lack undesirable hormonal effects; such hormonomimetics should be, in principle, applicable for the treatment of autoimmune disease.
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            Effects of stress on the immune system.

            Stress, distress and a variety of psychiatric illnesses, notably the affective disorders, are increasingly reported to be associated with immunosuppression. The concept that psychic distress may predispose to medical illness is centuries old but has only recently attracted the attention of the scientific community at large. Interdisciplinary collaboration has established psychoneuroimmunology, or neuroimmunomodulation, as a new field of investigation with the goal of rigorous scientific research into the elusive mind-body connection. This has resulted in the rapid accumulation of information which falls across the boundary lines of psychiatry, immunology, neurosciences and endocrinology. Here David Khansari, Anthony Murgo and Robert Faith review the effects of stress on the endocrine and central nervous systems and the interactions between these systems and the immune response after exposure to stress signals.
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              Regulation of the immune system by sex steroids.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
                The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
                Elsevier BV
                09600760
                January 1991
                January 1991
                : 40
                : 4-6
                : 619-637
                Article
                10.1016/0960-0760(91)90285-D
                © 1991

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