Women and autoimmune diseases

DeLisa Fairweather, Noel R. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women. The reasons for the high prevalence in women are unknown, but circumstantial evidence links autoimmune diseases with preceding infections. Animal models of autoimmune diseases have shown that infections can induce autoimmune disease. For example, coxsackievirus B3 (CB3) infection of susceptible mice results in inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) that resembles myocarditis in humans. The same disease can be induced by injecting mice with heart proteins mixed with adjuvant(s), which indicates that an active infection is not necessary for the development of autoimmune disease. We have found that CB3 triggers autoimmune disease in susceptible mice by stimulating elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines from mast cells during the innate immune response. Sex hormones may further amplify this hyperimmune response to infection in susceptible persons, which leads to an increased prevalence of autoimmune diseases in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2005-2011
Number of pages7
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Volume10
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Autoimmune Diseases
Myocarditis
Infection
Coxsackievirus Infections
Enterovirus
Gonadal Steroid Hormones
Innate Immunity
Mast Cells
Animal Models
Cytokines
Inflammation
Population
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

Cite this

Women and autoimmune diseases. / Fairweather, DeLisa; Rose, Noel R.

In: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 10, No. 11, 11.2004, p. 2005-2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fairweather, D & Rose, NR 2004, 'Women and autoimmune diseases', Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 10, no. 11, pp. 2005-2011.
Fairweather, DeLisa ; Rose, Noel R. / Women and autoimmune diseases. In: Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2004 ; Vol. 10, No. 11. pp. 2005-2011.
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