The sexual dimorphism of anticardiolipin autoantibodies in acute Q fever patients.


Aix-Marseille University, IRD, APHM, MEPHI, IHU-Méditerranée Infection, Marseille, France. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by Coxiella burnetii which affects men more than women (sex ratio men/women: 2.2). Acute Q fever complications are associated with elevation of anticardiolipin (aCL) antibodies. Here, we investigate the sexual dimorphism of aCL antibodies during acute C. burnetii infection.
METHODS : IgG aCL antibodies were evaluated at the time of Q fever serological diagnosis with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results were analysed according to sex.
RESULTS : Among the 1323 patients with Q fever tested for aCL, 1013 had acute Q fever (692 men/321 women) and 310 had persistent focalized infection (226 men/84 women). In cases of acute Q fever, men presented a significantly higher proportion of positive aCL antibodies (351/692, 50.7%) than women (113/321, 35.2%) (p <0.05). In addition, men had significantly higher aCL antibodies levels than women (p <0.001).
CONCLUSIONS : We highlight a relationship between sex and markers of autoimmunity during Q fever. Further investigations are necessary to better understand the mechanisms of this sexual dimorphism.


Antibodies,Anticardiolipin,Autoimmunity,Coxiella burnetii,Gender,Q fever,Sex,

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