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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2011 Mar 15;335(1):14-29. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2010.05.018. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Estrogens in rheumatoid arthritis; the immune system and bone.

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Center for Bone and Arthritis Research (CBAR), Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that is more common in women than in men. The peak incidence in females coincides with menopause when the ovarian production of sex hormones drops markedly. RA is characterized by skeletal manifestations where production of pro-inflammatory mediators, connected to the inflammation in the joint, leads to bone loss. Animal studies have revealed distinct beneficial effects of estrogens on arthritis, and a positive effect of hormone replacement therapy has been reported in women with postmenopausal RA. This review will focus on the influence of female sex hormones in the pathogenesis and progression of RA.

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