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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2017 Aug 1;56(8):1254-1263. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kew318.

The role of female hormonal factors in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

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3Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine Specialties.
Division of Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Research affairs, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.


RA is the most common chronic systemic autoimmune disease, with a higher prevalence in women, suggesting female hormonal factors play a role in the development of the disease. However, many controversies still exist. The aim of this review was to appraise data from recent research concerning female hormonal factors and their association with RA disease development. The study of female hormonal factors is challenging because serum levels may differ throughout a woman's lifetime and interact with various environmental, immunological, genetic and endocrine factors influencing the development of autoimmunity. As some female hormonal factors may be potentially modifiable, understanding their impact on RA development is clinically relevant and may result in specific preventive interventions in high-risk populations.


female hormonal factors; reproductive factors; rheumatoid arthritis; risk factors; women’s health

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