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The majority of autoimmune diseases predominate in females. In searching for an explanation for this female excess, most attention has focused on hormonal changes--both exogenous changes (for example, oral contraceptive pill) and fluctuations in endogenous hormone levels particularly related to menstruation and pregnancy history. Other reasons include genetic differences, both direct (influence of genes on sex chromosomes) and indirect (such as microchimerism), as well as gender differences in lifestyle factors. These will all be reviewed, focusing on the major autoimmune connective tissue disorders: rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and scleroderma.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/ar2825

Type

Journal article

Journal

Arthritis research & therapy

Publication Date

01/2009

Volume

11

Addresses

University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK. Jacqui.Oliver@manchester.ac.uk

Keywords

Humans, Rheumatic Diseases, Autoimmune Diseases, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Gonadal Steroid Hormones, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Pregnancy, Female