Sex hormones and risks of rheumatoid arthritis and developmental or environmental influences

Alfonse T. Masi*, Jean C. Aldag, Robert T. Chatterton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Sex hormone relationships for onset risks of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were analyzed in a nested case-control study, derived from a large community-based prospective cohort. A self-reported history of RA in a first-degree relative, heavy cigarette smoking, and positive rheumatoid factor (RF) were confirmed predictors of subsequent RA onset in this data set. In the 11 premenopausal onset cases, lower serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels were observed as was an imbalance in serum IL-1β to IL-1ra levels; the latter was not observed in the 43 controls (CNs). In the 18 male cases, significantly higher serum cortisol was observed in the six cases with positive family history versus the 12 with a negative history. To the contrary, a small minority of the male cases had combined low serum cortisol and testosterone, which was not observed in the 72 CNs. Significant gender dimorphism was observed between the sex hormones and serum log RF titers as well as in the correlations of serum log testosterone and estradiol. Principal component analysis of multiply-imputed data sets extracted four uncorrelated components, which provided concordant neuroendocrine immune relationships to the previously investigated univariate and multivariate analyses. The literature on developmental and environmental influences on sex hormones and risks of RA was reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Cigarette smoking
  • Environmental hazards
  • Familial predisposition
  • Immune
  • Neuroendocrine
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Risk factors
  • Sex hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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