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Flu Vaccine Less Effective In Men With Higher Testosterone Level

Update Date: Dec 24, 2013 09:29 AM EST

Men with higher levels of testosterone are more likely to have a weak response to an influenza vaccine, a new study finds.

The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that men with relatively high amounts of circulating testosterone are benefitted less after influenza vaccination compared to women and other men with lower testosterone level.

The study, in general found that women had a stronger antibody response to the vaccine compared to men.

Earlier it was known that men were more prone to bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections than women, but the cause was unknown. Findings of these research might just explain that.

“This is the first study to show an explicit correlation between testosterone levels, gene expression and immune responsiveness in humans,” said the study’s senior author, Mark Davis, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology and director of Stanford’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection in the press release. “It could be food for thought to all the testosterone-supplement takers out there.”

Thirty-three women and ten men were the part of the study in which response to the vaccine for the seasonal H3N2 flu strain was recorded.

“Lots of male non-responders had high levels of testosterone,” revealed Davis in the paper, “while the men with lower testosterone levels had roughly equal responses to females. The high-T men were crappy responders.”

After an extensive and complicated genetic analysis, researchers found that the genes involved with the fats metabolism were strongly associated with response to the vaccine.

The findings of the study could help scientists and physicians to develop more customized immune-therapies for the patients.

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