Author(s): Moscovis SM, Hall ST, Burns CJ, Scott RJ, Blackwell CC, Moscovis SM, Hall ST, Burns CJ, Scott RJ, Blackwell CC, Moscovis SM, Hall ST, Burns CJ, Scott RJ, Blackwell CC, Moscovis SM, Hall ST, Burns CJ, Scott RJ, Blackwell CC
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Abstract The peak age at which sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) occurs corresponds to the developmental period in which infants are dependent on their innate responses to infection. There is a growing body of evidence indicating that dysregulation of inflammatory responses might contribute to the physiological changes leading to these sudden deaths. This study examined the effects of three important risk factors for SIDS on inflammatory responses: cigarette smoke, virus infection and male sex. Cytokine responses of peripheral monocytic blood cells of healthy, non-smoking males and females to endotoxin were measured. Surrogates for virus infection or cigarette smoke were assessed using IFN-γ or water-soluble cigarette smoke extract (CSE). For most conditions, cells from males had lower pro-inflammatory cytokine responses than those of females. An opposite trend was observed for IL-10. Significantly lower levels of some cytokines were noted for cells from male donors exposed to CSE. In females, there were significant correlations between testosterone levels and levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, but none for males. Testosterone levels in females correspond to those among male infants in the age range at greatest risk of SIDS. The effects of the testosterone surge in male infants need to be examined in relation to changes in cortisol levels that occur during the same period of infant development.
This article was published in Innate Immun
and referenced in Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health