Changes in the gene expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells during the menstrual cycle of females is associated with a gender bias in the incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Mar-Apr 2009;27(2):260-6.


Objective: The incidence of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is far higher in females than in males and the onset and/or disease activity is influenced by pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. Sex hormones seem to influence the pathogenesis of SLE, therefore, changes in gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were examined during the menstrual cycle in females, under the comparison of gene expression of patients with SLE.

Methods: The detection and a quantitative analysis of the gene expression was performed by DNA microarray or real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) method.

Results: There were thirteen known genes which showed significant quantitative changes during the menstrual cycles of females, but not in males. Among these genes, statistical quantitative differences between normal controls and SLE patients were observed in six genes.

Conclusion: Based on these findings, certain genes (such as the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, member 14; TNFRSF14, and signal regulatory protein, gamma; SIRPG) appear to contribute to gender difference of SLE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Differentiation / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics*
  • Male
  • Menstrual Cycle / genetics*
  • Menstrual Cycle / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Member 14 / genetics
  • Sex Factors
  • Up-Regulation


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Member 14
  • SIRPG protein, human
  • TNFRSF14 protein, human