Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) remains a clinical challenge due to the poorly predictable outcomes. Accordingly, considerable efforts have been devoted to unravel the risk factors responsible for DILI worsening toward acute liver failure (ALF), liver transplantation (LT), and/or death. From a pathogenic point of view, exhaustion of drug metabolizing pathways, cell death mechanisms, activation of local immune cells, such as Kupffer cells, and recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes including monocytes and lymphocytes are key drivers of DILI progression. Taking into account that the liver is a sexually dimorphic organ, in the recent past several studies aimed to investigate the implications of gender differences in promoting DILI. While sex discrepancies in DILI include the hepatic drug metabolism or direct effects of steroid hormones (e.g. androgens and estrogens) on signaling pathways in the liver, relatively little is known on gender differences in modulating liver innate immune responses. In a previous issue of Clinical Science, Bizzaro and co-workers, analyzed sex-dependent differences in experimental acute liver injury and regeneration in mice. The authors observed a time-delay in the recovery process in male animals associated with a higher recruitment of monocytes expressing the androgen receptor (AR) as compared with females. Treatment of male mice with the pharmacological AR antagonist flutamide reduced monocyte recruitment in mice. Likewise, human male patients suffering from DILI displayed higher circulating immature and potentially more inflammatory monocytes. Altogether, these observations provide new insights into sex-dependent immune mechanisms in the context of acute liver injury, suggesting gender disparate inflammatory and regenerative responses following DILI.

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