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Dihydrotestosterone levels at birth associate positively with higher proportions of circulating immature/naïve CD5+ B cells in boys.

Journal article
Authors Anna-Carin Lundell
Inger Nordström
Kerstin Andersson
Anna Strömbeck
Claes Ohlsson
Åsa Tivesten
Anna Rudin
Published in Scientific reports
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 15503
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication year 2017
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages 15503
Language en
Subject categories Clinical immunology, Immunobiology, Endocrinology


Boys present with higher proportions of immature/naïve CD5+ B cells than girls up to 3 years of age. Boys also have higher fractions of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in early infancy, but the mechanisms for these sex-related differences are unknown. In the prospective FARMFLORA follow-up study of 23 boys and 25 girls, we investigated if these immunological differences remained at 8 years of age. We also examined if testosterone or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels at birth and at 8 years of age were associated with immune maturation. Immunological variables and androgen levels were examined and measured in blood samples obtained at birth, 3-5 days and at 8 years of age. Boys had higher proportions of CD5+ and immature/transitional CD24hiCD38hi B cells, whereas girls had higher fractions of B cells with a memory phenotype at 8 years of age. School-aged boys also presented with higher frequencies of Tregs, and a greater capacity to produce T-cell-associated cytokines. Among boys, higher cord blood DHT levels were associated with higher proportions of CD5+ B cells in early infancy and at 8 years of life. These results suggest that DHT actions in utero might be involved in the mechanism for delayed peripheral B-cell maturation in boys.

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