Gender-specific differences in Adamantiades–Behçet’s disease manifestations: an analysis of the German registry and meta-analysis of data from the literature

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Objective. We investigated the effect of gender on the clinical Adamantiades–Behçet’s disease (ABD) phenotype with data from the German ABD registry and a meta-analysis from a systematic literature review.

Methods. Using the German ABD registry data, we compared 36 clinical variables by gender (with women as the reference category) and investigated potential effect modification by HLA-B5 or ethnic background. The registry data were combined with those from a literature search to calculate pooled relative risks (RRs) for variables with data from ≥10 relevant datasets.

Results. The German ABD registry provided information for 747 subjects (58.1% males) and the systematic literature review identified another 52 datasets informing on 16 variables. Both analyses consistently revealed the association of male gender with ocular involvement (RR 1.28 and 1.34 from the ABD registry and meta-analysis, respectively), folliculitis (RR 1.30 and 1.26), papulopustular lesions (RR 1.23 and 1.25), vascular involvement (RR 2.31 and 2.27), superficial (RR 2.96 and 1.63) and deep venous thromboses (RR 2.56 and 2.16) and female gender with genital ulcers (RR 0.78 and 0.92) and joint involvement (RR 0.79 and 0.89). The ABD registry data additionally showed male gender associated with heart involvement (RR 10.60), whereas the meta-analyses revealed male gender associated with the pathergy test (RR 1.14) and female gender associated with erythema nodosum (RR 0.86). HLA-B5 and Turkish or German origin did not affect the observed associations.

Conclusion. These analyses support gender-associated clinical variations in ABD and in particular a clinically meaningful risk of cardiovascular involvement for men.

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