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A new molecule to blame for pain: “Xist”

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Women get at least 3× more autoimmune disease than men, and we have a new clue why: a ladies-only molecule, named “Xist,” helps female cells develop, and it does not occur in male cells. But when you tinker with boy mice so that they produce some Xist… they started getting more autoimmune disease.

Xist appears to be something of an antibody magnet.

Yes, it’s another mouse study! But it seems worth looking for the same thing in people, and there are already some clues that we’ll find it. Jonathan Wosen for StatNews:

“When they examined blood samples from healthy adults and patients with autoimmune diseases that mainly affect females, they found that the latter group was more likely to have antibodies that recognized Xist-protein complexes. That raises the possibility that the findings could be used to devise new and better ways to diagnose autoimmune diseases and to monitor whether treatments are working.”

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