Women are more frequently affected by autoimmune diseases

An estimated one in five individuals suffer from an autoimmune disease, including conditions such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and thyroiditis. These diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, leading to tissue destruction due to an inflammatory reaction. The prevalence of autoimmune diseases has increased in recent decades due to advancements in diagnostics and an aging population.

Women are disproportionately affected by autoimmune diseases, with up to 80% of those affected being female. The reason for this gender discrepancy is not fully understood, but researchers have linked it to the female hormone estrogen. Studies led by Stanford University’s Diana Down have found that women’s susceptibility to autoimmune attacks may be linked to mechanisms on the X chromosome related to estrogen’s role in silencing one of the X chromosomes in women.

The X chromosome is silenced through a molecular cover formed by xist-RNA strands that wrap around the DNA and proteins attached to it. Researchers found that this silencing mechanism may contribute to autoimmune attacks in women. Animal studies using male mice showed that disrupting the xist protein strands led to more severe autoimmune responses, producing more autoantibodies and causing more tissue destruction in the presence of an autoimmune disease.

Autoantibodies can be present before symptoms of autoimmune diseases become apparent, making them valuable markers for diagnosis. Understanding the role of xist protein strands in autoimmune diseases can lead to early identification through autoantibody testing. This research highlights the importance of studying both men and women with autoimmune diseases to gain a better understanding of their underlying mechanisms and potential treatments for these debilitating conditions.

By Samantha Johnson

As a content writer at newsnmio.com, I craft engaging and informative articles that aim to captivate readers and provide them with valuable insights. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, I thoroughly enjoy delving into diverse topics, conducting research, and producing compelling content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news pieces to in-depth features, I strive to deliver content that is both accurate and engaging, constantly seeking to bring fresh perspectives to our readers. Collaborating with a talented team of editors and journalists, I am committed to maintaining the high standards of journalism upheld by our publication.

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