Sexual dimorphism in autoimmune disease

McCombe, P.A., Greer, J.M. and Mackay, I.R. (2009) Sexual dimorphism in autoimmune disease. Current Molecular Medicine, 9 9: 1058-1079. doi:10.2174/156652409789839116

Author McCombe, P.A.
Greer, J.M.
Mackay, I.R.
Title Sexual dimorphism in autoimmune disease
Journal name Current Molecular Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1566-5240
Publication date 2009-12-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2174/156652409789839116
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 9
Issue 9
Start page 1058
End page 1079
Total pages 22
Editor Anirban Maitra
Place of publication Bussum, The Netherlands
Publisher Bentham Science Publishers Limited
Language eng
Subject C1
110706 Immunogenetics (incl. Genetic Immunology)
110904 Neurology and Neuromuscular Diseases
920111 Nervous System and Disorders
Abstract We briefly survey the concept of autoimmunity and nominate the range of autoimmune diseases that include multisystemic and organ-specific disorders, and cite prevalences of autoimmune diseases in males and females, in humans and in experimental animals. Most human autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS) and autoimmune thyroid disease, have an increased incidence and prevalence in females, but a few others such as autoimmune diabetes, the Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS) and psoriasis are increased in males. Animal models of autoimmunity show an equivalent sexual dimorphism. The possible reasons for the differing incidence and prevalence of autoimmune diseases in females and males engage our attention. Environmental exposures may differ for females and males. There are innate differences in the function of the female and male immune systems, and there is some evidence for differences between females and males in the ability of a target organ for autoimmunity to withstand damage. In seeking reasons for these differences, we review the role of sex hormones in immunity and include results of trials of hormone therapy in autoimmune diseases. The association of autoimmunity and pregnancy, a female-specific condition, is discussed, and the claimed effects of lymphoid cell microchimerism on provocation of autoimmunity are reviewed. Genetic predisposition is an important factor in autoimmune disease and we particularly focus on genes on the X and Y chromosomes, the role of X chromosome inactivation, and the interaction of the sex of the patient with other genetic factors. The possible role of epigenetic mechanisms, including environmental influences, is then surveyed. We assert that sex is a vital variable that must be considered in all immunological studies, as it should be at all levels of biological research.
Keyword Autoimmune Disease
Sexual Dimorphism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 90 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 103 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 03 Jan 2010, 10:03:41 EST