Androgens in rheumatoid arthritis: when are they effectors?
Research Laboratory and Academic Unit of Clinical Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genova Italy, Viale Benedetto XV, 6, 16132 Genova Italy
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2009, 11:126 doi:10.1186/ar2804
See related research article by Karlson et al., http://arthritis-research.com/content/11/3/R97Published: 22 September 2009
Neither hormone receptor genes nor plasma androgens seem significantly altered in female subjects before they became affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and, therefore, do not seem to play a role as risk factors for its development. However, serum testosterone levels are inversely correlated with RA activity and dehydro-epiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) plasma levels are inversely correlated with both disease duration and clinical severity in patients already affected by active RA. In particular, gonadal and adrenal androgens (that is, testosterone and DHEAS) are significantly decreased in inflamed synovial tissue/fluids during active disease as a consequence of the inflammatory reaction, which supports a pro-inflammatory milieu in RA joints. Recently, male gender has been found to be a major predictor of remission in early RA.