Sjögren’s syndrome leading to differential gene expression in males and females and functional impact on the immune system

Concept

The majority of rheumatic diseases are more common in women than in men. Primary Sjögren’s
syndrome has among the highest observed female-to-male ratios, and approximately nine out of ten
patients with this chronic inflammatory condition are women. This sex-bias remains poorly understood, even though female sex is the strongest known risk factor for Sjögren’s syndrome

Facts and figures

Project lead
M Wahren-Herlenius
Karolinska Institute
marie.wahren@ki.se
FOREUM research grant: €600.000
2020 - 2023

Meet the team

M Wahren-Herlenius
Karolinska Institute
R Jonsson
University of Bergen
S Appel
University of Bergen
V Kuchroo
Harvard Medical School

Objectives

There is no difference in the frequency of the SS-associated genetic polymorphisms between women
and men in the general population, yet there is a much higher likelihood for the diseases to develop in women carrying these SNPs compared to men. We therefore hypothesize that the context “female sex” influences the functional impact of the genetic polymorphisms associated with SS differently than the context “male sex”.

Patient voice

Patient partners trained through the Swedish Rheumatism Association will participate in both project
design and during the study. The patient partners will be part of the steering group and participate in
discussions on the results and making the most of potential findings. The patient partners will also be
involved in the communication with patients and society, including the writing of a plain language
summary of the project and main findings.