Why are four out of five people with autoimmune diseases women?
Scientists have discovered why more women suffer from autoimmune diseases compared to men.
Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, are conditions where the body's immune system attacks normal cells.
About four out of every five patients with these diseases are women.
According to a new study led by researchers at Stanford University and published in the journal Cell, it may have something to do with women's two X chromosomes.
In mammals, biological sex is determined by chromosomes, with females having two X chromosomes and males having one X and one Y.
With two X chromosomes, there is a risk of overproduction of proteins.
A molecule called Xist plays a crucial role by inactivating one of the X chromosomes in women's cells, preventing this overproduction.
However, the researchers found that Xist also produces strange molecular combinations that can trigger an autoimmune response.
The study suggests that Xist in addition to genetics plays a role in causing autoimmunity.
The researchers hope that this study could help in the future detection of autoimmune conditions and lead to better treatments.