From the article:
“There is a very interesting clinical observation that women are more affected and develop more severe asthma than men, and so we tried to understand why this was happening,” Dr Seillet said.
“Our research shows that high levels of testosterone in males protect them against the development of allergic asthma. We identified that testosterone is a potent inhibitor of innate lymphoid cells, a newly-described immune cell that has been associated with the initiation of asthma.”
The research team found that innate lymphoid cells – or ILC2s – ‘sensed’ testosterone and responded by halting production of the cells.
“Testosterone directly acts on ILC2s by inhibiting their proliferation,” Dr Seillet said. “So in males, you have less ILC2s in the lungs and this directly correlates with the reduced severity of asthma.”
ILC2s are found in the lungs, skin and other organs. These cells produce inflammatory proteins that can cause lung inflammation and damage in response to common triggers for allergic asthma, such as pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke and pet hair.