Purpose of review
The body composition and fat distribution is different between men and women, with different levels of circulating adipokines. These differences become more evident when suffering from an inflammatory disease, such as spondyloarthritris. In this review, we will explore the influence of obesity, body composition and adipokines on the differences in disease activity, progression and response to treatment, between men and women with spondyloarthritis.
Obesity, mainly determined by the body fat content, which is higher in women, is related to worse disease activity scores. Men with higher disease activity lose more muscle mass than women. Leptin, which is usually found at higher levels in overweight women, seems to be associated with greater spinal radiographic progression when it rises during the course of the disease. Being a woman and obesity, mainly because of the body fat content, are related to a worse response to TNF-α blockers.
Overlooking biological sex variation in body composition, circulating adipokines and hormonal levels, and the subsequent differences in clinical presentation, may ultimately hamper clinical treatment.