Allergic asthma affects more women than men. It is mediated partially by IL-4/IL-13-driven polarization of monocyte-derived macrophages in the lung. We tested whether sex differences in asthma are due to differential IL-4 responsiveness and/or chemokine receptor expression in monocytes and monocyte-derived macrophages from healthy and allergic asthmatic men and women. We found female cells expressed M2 genes more robustly following IL-4 stimulation than male cells, as did cells from asthmatics than those from healthy controls. This likely resulted from increased expression ofγC, part of the type I IL-4 receptor, and reduced IL-4-induced SOCS1, a negative regulator of IL-4 signaling, in asthmatic compared to healthy macrophages. Monocytes from asthmatic women expressed more CX3CR1, which enhances macrophage survival. Our findings highlight how sex differences in IL-4 responsiveness and chemokine receptor expression may affect monocyte recruitment and macrophage polarization in asthma, potentially leading to new sex-specific therapies to manage the disease.
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