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Intestinal bacteria are different by gender and are deeply involved in autoimmune diseases

Intestinal bacteria are deeply involved in health of intestines, and play a very important role in the human immune system. Lately, scientists started discussing that the state of intestinal bacteria also different between a man and a woman.

A result of the research on the relevance of gender and meal contents among the test subjects with fish, mice and humans was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Based on the result of this research, the meal that fish, mice and humans ate, greatly influenced the balance of their intestinal bacteria. At the same time, the researchers found that there is a gender difference in the balance of intestinal bacteria.

The relationship between intestinal bacteria and sex hormones also reflect to the number of patients with immune-related diseases. In the United States, 8.5 million people suffer from autoimmune disease and 80% of them are female patients. Even in Japan, the proportion of patients with autoimmune diseases is 2 to 10 times more for women than men and researchers have started to pay more attention to the relationship between female hormones and immunity. Furthermore, experiments using mice showed that when male intestinal bacteria were transplanted into the intestines of females who developed autoimmune diseases, their symptoms were suppressed. This result suggested that the intestinal bacteria in different gender related to the state of diseases.

The reason why autoimmune diseases are more common in women has not been clarified yet. However, scientists estimate that characteristics unique to women may be related to changes in the state of immunity, such as being able to receive a fertilized egg a half of it is not composed with own cells without discharge to the outside of the body. In any case, women are prone to be susceptible to disturbed intestines. Therefore, it is important to have sufficient care for the intestinal environment on a routine basis.

Credit to: Muneaki Takahata Ph.,D.


  • Nat Commun 5, doi:10.1038/ncomms5500(2014)
  • Journal of Nihon University Medical Association 72, 150-153 (2013)
  • Immunity 39, 400-412 (2013)