Kristi Warren, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Investigating Gender Differences in Asthma
Severe asthma occurs more often in women than men. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are thought to contribute to increased disease severity in females, whereas testosterone is thought to protect against asthma. We are using an experimental mouse model to study asthma, focusing on immune cells called group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2). These cells are capable of producing potent amounts of asthma-promoting signals, which cause excessive cough and shortness of breath in asthmatic people. We have found ILC2 from female lungs produced two to three fold more of those signals than ILC2 from male lungs. We will investigate the role of hormones in the activation of ILC2. This research may lead to more effective asthma treatment in female and male patients.