Autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) develops in women eight times more frequently than men. On the other hand, women are less at risk of not reproductive cancers, such as melanoma, colon cancer, kidney or lung.
Studies also show that women respond better to treatment immunotherapeutic drugs than men.
So why is there such a big difference between the strong and the weaker sex? - An interdisciplinary team of scientists from Arizona State University attempted to answer this question.
The researchers presented a new hypothesis to explain this phenomenon, in the «Trends in Genetics» magazine.
To explain the differences in incidence between men and women, scientists have proposed a new theory called "compensation hypothesis pregnancy» (The Pregnancy Compensation Hypothesis).
According to the theory, hereditary immune system in women has been formed with the "requirement" to compensate for the unique immune regulation during pregnancy. Scientists suggest that the fair sex-specific immune modulation has evolved to promote survival of pregnant women in the presence of invasive placenta and immunologically complex pregnancy. However, in the industrialized cities of a decrease in the pregnancy rate. These changes in the reproductive ecology exacerbate an increased risk of autoimmune diseases, since immune "surveillance" is enhanced.
The researchers reported that, because the immune system has significant differences in men and women, it is necessary to consider the development of immunotherapy and other treatments.
Another factor that can aggravate the situation, is the modern way of life in the city. In industrialized societies autoimmune diseases seem to occur more frequently than in non-industrialized populations. Scientists suggest that a person's immune system has evolved in anticipation of a certain number of parasites. However, the number of parasites was less, so the immune system were other goals, namely herself.
"We also moved from the active to a sedentary lifestyle. We suffer from an overabundance of calories that potentially supports excessive levels of hormones, including the female hormone estradiol. Maintaining such a high level of hormones may increase the likelihood of triggering autoimmune diseases "- the researchers reported.