Investigating Differences Between Men and Women and Onset of Asthma and the Role the Microbiome Plays

Investigating Differences Between Men and Women and Onset of Asthma and the Role the Microbiome Plays

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Asthma and allergic airway hyperresponsiveness is a serious public health concern. Globally 300 million people suffer from asthma and the causative factors and the mechanisms by which they act have not been fully elucidated. Asthma and autoimmune diseases are sex-biased with women having higher prevalence and more severe disease, although mechanisms have not been determined.

Sex differences in inflammation are likely related to differential production of sex hormones and there is evidence that these differences may be mediated through differential microbiomes. For example, in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes (T1D), it has been shown that microbiomes from males protect female mice from T1D development (Markle et al. 2013). For asthma, the gut microbiome in early life is important for proper immune system development and dysbiosis in early life leads to an increased risk for asthma.

Determining the mechanism for these sex-based differences in airway inflammation and the contribution of the microbiome in animal models would improve our ability to treat or prevent asthma and other autoimmune diseases in women. This pilot will focus on mining available datasets for microbiome signatures as well as collating data from mouse models.

This project is currently seeking a funding partner. Please contact the JCVI Development Office at development@jcvi.org to learn more.