Clues Connect Estrogen and Autoimmune Disease

There is a phenomenon that scientists have yet to solve, regardless of whether a woman lives in the United States, where medical care is relatively good, or third world nations, where medical care is often scarce: women are less likely to die from infectious diseases than men. The lower death rate has been attributed to a beneficial, yet unexplained effect estrogen has on the immune system. Females of child-bearing age are more resistant to infectious disease and have an increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study hypothesized that estrogen-induced gene expression could establish an immunoactivated state which would render enhanced defense against infection, but may be deleterious in autoimmune development.By Nicholas A. Young, Lai-Chu Wu, et al, Estrogen modulation of endosome-associated toll-like receptor 8: An IFNα-independent mechanism of sex-bias in systemic lupus erythematosus. Clinical Immunology, March 2014

Molecular Secrets Discovered for Resveratrol’s Health Benefits

Resveratrol has been much in the news as the component of grapes and red wine associated with reducing “bad cholesterol,” heart disease and some types of cancer. Also found in blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts and pistachios, resveratrol is associated with beneficial health effects in aging, inflammation and metabolism. Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have now identified one of the molecular pathways that resveratrol uses to achieve its beneficial action.