It's one of the great mysteries of medicine, and one that affects the lives of millions of people: Why do women's immune systems gang up on them far more than men's do, causing nine times more women to develop autoimmune diseases such as lupus?
Part of the answer, it turns out, may lie in the skin.
New evidence points to a key role for a molecular switch called VGLL3 in autoimmune diseases, and the major gap in incidence between women and men. Building on past research showing that women have more VGLL3 in their skin cells than men, a team studied it further in mice. They show that having too much VGLL3 in skin cells pushes the immune system into overdrive, leading to an autoimmune response and symptoms similar to lupus.
For full research study please click here.