Objective: More than 80% of autoimmune disease predominantly affects females, but the mechanism for this female bias is poorly understood. We suspected that an X chromosome dose effect accounts for this, and we undertook this study to test our hypothesis that trisomy X (47,XXX; occurring in ∼1 in 1,000 live female births) would be increased in patients with female-predominant diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE], primary Sjögren's syndrome [SS], primary biliary cirrhosis, and rheumatoid arthritis [RA]) compared to patients with diseases without female predominance (sarcoidosis) and compared to controls.
Methods: All subjects in this study were female. We identified subjects with 47,XXX using aggregate data from single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays, and, when possible, we confirmed the presence of 47,XXX using fluorescence in situ hybridization or quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
Results: We found 47,XXX in 7 of 2,826 SLE patients and in 3 of 1,033 SS patients, but in only 2 of 7,074 controls (odds ratio in the SLE and primary SS groups 8.78 [95% confidence interval 1.67-86.79], P = 0.003 and odds ratio 10.29 [95% confidence interval 1.18-123.47], P = 0.02, respectively). One in 404 women with SLE and 1 in 344 women with SS had 47,XXX. There was an excess of 47,XXX among SLE and SS patients.
Conclusion: The estimated prevalence of SLE and SS in women with 47,XXX was ∼2.5 and ∼2.9 times higher, respectively, than that in women with 46,XX and ∼25 and ∼41 times higher, respectively, than that in men with 46,XY. No statistically significant increase of 47,XXX was observed in other female-biased diseases (primary biliary cirrhosis or RA), supporting the idea of multiple pathways to sex bias in autoimmunity.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.