The ABCs of Autoimmunity
A unique type of B cell appears to play a role in the development of autoimmune disorders – and may explain the disproportionate prevalence of such diseases in women
Michael Schubert |
“It’s well-known that autoimmune diseases mostly affect women – in fact, about 80 percent of all autoimmune patients are women,” explains Kira Rubtsova, a researcher and instructor in biomedical science at National Jewish Health. “At the same time, the onset of autoimmunity usually happens during adulthood.” Why are women so disproportionately affected by autoimmune issues? Rubtsova and her colleagues suspected that the female immune system undergoes changes with age that lead to the progression of autoimmunity – changes that the male immune system does not experience. But precisely what are those changes? In the quest to answer that question, Rubtsova’s research group discovered age-associated B cells (ABCs).
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