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