A chronic disease of the immune system, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affects approximately 1.5 million people nationwide, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. Characterized by the production of autoantibodies throughout the body, SLE affects women more than men and can cause problems ranging from skin rash and joint pain to kidney failure and stroke. The wide range of disease symptoms among patients can make SLE difficult to diagnose and treat, especially since current laboratory tests or biomarkers have limitations.
A recent study provides the basis for a new laboratory biomarker to better evaluate new therapies as well as to help doctors more effectively treat lupus patients at risk for serious complications. Published in the May 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), the findings shed important light on the role of interferon, a protein critical to immunity released into the bloodstream, in the progression of SLE.
Supported by the Alliance for Lupus Research, the Lupus Research Institute, the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research, and the NIH, the study was conducted by a team of researchers with the Kirkland Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. Led by Kyriakos A. Kirou, M.D. and Mary K. Crow, M.D., the team set out to test the hypothesis that activation of a particular interferon pathway-- the type I interferon pathway--is more common among SLE patients with the highest disease activity. Activation of this pathway is indicated by high levels of expression of interferon-inducible genes (IFIGs) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
The team collected blood samples from 77 SLE patients, 22 disease controls (20 with rheumatoid arthritis and 2 with autoimmune uveitis), and 28 healthy controls. Drs. Kirou and Crow and their associates madPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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