The 7th International Congress of Autoimmunity was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia in May 2010. At the conclusion of the Congress, a list was prepared of the major unresolved clinical issues in autoimmunity. The list grew to be extensive but one subject that was found in nearly all of the concerns was geoepidemiology of autoimmunity and, in particular, the increased risk of women to develop autoimmune disease. Indeed, one does not need to be an autoimmunologist to appreciate that the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, for example, has been known to be increased in women compared to men, almost from the time of its original description. In fact, although the sex ratios of autoimmune disease have varied from center to center, from country to country, from decade to decade, the data has remained virtually constant. It is not surprising that the very first mouse model of lupus was described in female New Zealand black x white female mice. Although there have been subsequent descriptions of lupus in male murine strains, the initial data on the NZB × NZW F1 mouse led to some of the original descriptions of the relative roles of sex hormones on the immune response. The 8th Congress of Autoimmunity will be held in Granada, Spain in May 2012 and one of the intents of the Congress and of this volume is to address the needs originally noted in Slovenia two years earlier. Towards this extent, this volume contains a special double issue of papers that will be published in the Journal of Autoimmunity and Autoimmunity Reviews, all of whom have the focus of addressing critical issues in sex, gender and autoimmunity.
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