Characteristics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Vary with Gender

Males tend to have later onset, higher auto-antibody titers

FRIDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Gender has an important influence on the clinical characteristics of familial rheumatoid arthritis including age of onset and auto-antibody production, according to study results published in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

In the study, Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues measured gender differences in clinical characteristics of 1,004 individuals with familial rheumatoid arthritis.

The investigators found that males tended to have later onset of the disease (44.3 years versus 40.4 years) and were more likely to be seropositive for rheumatoid factor (seropositivity factor, 87.8 versus 78.5) than female patients. Males also had higher titers of anti-cyclic citrulinated peptide (CCP) antibodies and were more likely to be HLA-DRB1 shared epitope-positive.

"Female patients with an affected male sibling had significantly higher titers of anti-CCP antibodies and were more likely to be shared epitope-positive compared with females without affected male siblings," the authors note, supporting the hypothesis that families with affected males carry greater genetic risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

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