Impact of Gender on Lupus to Be Feature of APS Conference

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Researchers review how lupus treatment can improve

The upcoming and highly anticipated Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Diseases: Physiology and Gender conference, set to take place November 17–20 in Annapolis, Maryland, will be hosted by the American Physiology Society — one of the country’s oldest societies in the field of biomedical sciences, with over 11,000 members and 14 peer-reviewed journals with a global following. This conference is the society’s third this fall and is expected to gather some of the field’s most accomplished scientists and professionals whose works have touched on the role of sex and gender on cardiovascular, kidney and metabolic health and disease, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus.

Lupus is a disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks several organs, with the kidneys the most affected organ. Lupus is about nine times more common in women than in men, and it currently has no cure although therapies and diagnosis can improve symptoms and survival.

“The scientific community is discovering that there are significant differences between men and women that not only affect normal physiology and responses to pathological conditions, but also response to therapeutics,” Jane Reckelhoff, PhD, one of the conferences organizers, said in a press release.

Set for Wednesday, November 18, is a Symposia I presentation  titled “Immune System and Regenerative Medicine — Impact of Gender and Sex” that will cover:

  • actions of sex hormones beyond reproduction,
  • role of sex and gender in the body’s self-healing processes,
  • influence of sex in the brain’s control of cardiovascular, kidney and metabolic diseases,
  • the impact of events occurring during fetal development on the risk of developing chronic diseases later in life, and pregnancy and preeclampsia.

“The timing of this conference is especially opportune since the number of papers published on sex and gender differences in physiology and pathophysiology is exploding, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently released its guidelines for the incorporation of both sexes of animals in pre-clinical studies,” explained Reckelhoff. Janine Clayton, PhD, of the Office of Research in Women’s Health at NIH, will be attending the meeting to discuss this new NIH policy, which starts Jan. 25, 2016.

Results from a study recently published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research showed that the lower extremity strength or weakness of women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was predictive of later higher or lower functional status, but was unrelated to grip strength.