Men are often portrayed as complaining loudly whenever any cold or flu symptoms take hold – but a study of men and the flu found something rather surprising.
Men actually recover from the flu more quickly than women.
It could be down to one key lung-healing protein, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say.
The researchers infected mice and human cells with the influenza virus and found male mice produced more amphiregulin – a growth factor protein important in wound healing.
The male mice recovered more quickly compared to female mice.
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The research could lead to new flu treatments that boost amphiregulin production.
“The novel finding here is that females also have slower tissue-repair during recovery, due to relatively low production of amphiregulin,” senior study author Sabra Klein, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School, said.
“We found in that study that by increasing amphiregulin production in females we could expedite their recovery from flu.”