Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are multifactorial in nature, requiring both genetic and environmental factors for onset. Increased predisposition of females to a wide range of autoimmune diseases points to a gender bias in the multifactorial etiology of these disorders. However, the existing evidence to date has not provided any conclusive mechanism of gender-bias beyond the role of hormones and sex chromosomes. The gut microbiome, which impacts the innate and adaptive branches of immunity, not only influences the development of autoimmune disorders but may interact with sex-hormones to modulate disease progression and sex-bias. Here, we review the current information on gender bias in autoimmunity and discuss the potential of microbiome-derived biomarkers to help unravel the complex interplay between genes, environment and hormones in rheumatoid arthritis.
Keywords: Autoimmunity; Gender-bias; Microbiome; Sex-hormones.
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