A sexual dimorphism in liver inflammation and repair was previously demonstrated. Its cellular dissection in the course of acute liver injury (ALI) was explored. BALB/c mice were treated with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) by intraperitoneal injection and killed after 3, 5, and 8 days. Histological and hepatic cell population analyses were performed. The correlation between androgen receptor (AR) expression and liver recruited inflammatory cells was investigated by treatment with the AR antagonist flutamide. Additionally, patients with a diagnosis of drug induced liver injury (DILI) were included in the study, with a particular focus on gender dimorphism in circulating monocytes. A delayed resolution of necrotic damage and a higher expression of proinflammatory cytokines were apparent in male mice along with a slower recruitment of inflammatory monocytes. F4/80+CD11b+ macrophages and CD11bhighGr-1high monocytes expressed AR and were recruited later in male compared with female livers after CCl4 treatment. Moreover, CD11bhighAR+Gr-1high recruitment was negatively modulated by flutamide in males. Analysis of DILI patients showed overall a significant reduction in circulating mature monocytes compared with healthy subjects. More interestingly, male patients had higher numbers of immature monocytes compared with female patients.
A stronger cytotoxic tissue response was correlated with an impaired recruitment of CD11bhighAR+Gr-1high cells and F4/80+CD11b+ macrophages in the early inflammatory phase under AR signaling. During DILI, a dimorphic immune response was apparent, characterized by a massive recruitment of monocytes to the liver both in males and females, but only in males was this recruitment sustained by a turnover of immature monocytes.