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Rheumatoid arthritis and sex differences

To thoroughly investigate sex differences in RA, a team of researchers turned to families with a history of the disease among both their female and male members. The results indicate that male sex exerts a significant influence on underlying RA mechanisms, particularly the production of anti-CCP an

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic autoimmune disease marked by tissue inflammation and joint destruction, has a well established predisposition for women.

Among the adults it strikes--currently about two million in the United States--the female to male ratio is three to one. RA incidence also varies by age within each sex. Among women, disease occurrence increases from the age of menarche and peaks around menopause; RA is rare in men under age 45. These trends have prompted numerous studies into the role of hormones in the development of RA. However, sex differences in specific risk factors, disease expression, and response to treatment have remained largely unexplored.

To thoroughly investigate sex differences in RA, a team of researchers affiliated with the University of California turned to families with a history of the disease among both their female and male members. The results, presented in the October 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), indicate that male sex exerts a significant influence on underlying RA mechanisms, particularly the production of anti-CCP antibodies.

The study focused on 1,004 affected members of 467 Caucasian families within which two or more siblings met the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for RA. All families were recruited from the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium, a resource for gene mapping studies. Each RA patient was interviewed to collect relevant personal details, including age at onset of RA sym
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
28-Sep-2006


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