Why do Women Live Longer than Men?

Posted on 22 February 2020

Consistently across populations and throughout history women have, on average, always lived longer than men.

A recent study delved into role of sex in the aging immune system. As we age, the immune system becomes both overactive and less capable, leading to chronic inflammation alongside decreased resistance to infection and cancer.

Here, we characterize peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 172 healthy adults 22–93 years of age using ATAC-seq, RNA-seq, and flow cytometry. These data reveal a shared epigenomic signature of aging including declining naïve T cell and increasing monocyte and cytotoxic cell functions. These changes are greater in magnitude in men and accompanied by a male-specific decline in B-cell specific loci. Age-related epigenomic changes first spike around late-thirties with similar timing and magnitude between sexes, whereas the second spike is earlier and stronger in men. Unexpectedly, genomic differences between sexes increase after age 65, with men having higher innate and pro-inflammatory activity and lower adaptive activity

Nat Commun 11, 751 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14396-9


  1. Márquez, E.J., Chung, C., Marches, R. et al. Sexual-dimorphism in human immune system aging. Nat Commun 11, 751 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14396-9
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