Michele M. Kosiewicz, PhD

University of Louisville Research Foundation, KY

2006 Gender Matters

There has long been speculation as to why females are so much more likely than males to get lupus, with nine women for every one male being affected.

Dr. Kosiewicz has made breakthroughs in this area, finding that in female mice with lupus, the number (and function) of a type of white blood cell that prevents autoimmune disease—regulatory T cells—is significantly lower than in male mice with lupus.

Female mice given male sex steroids (androgens) actually experience an increase in the level and function of these T cells—and protection against the disease.

By clarifying the role of regulatory T cells in preventing lupus and the mechanisms by which androgens enhance their action, Dr. Kosiewicz aims to unveil new treatment strategies.