Team develops DNA compounds that could help treat lupus

May 27, 2009

A research team led by a University of Iowa investigator has generated DNA-like compounds that effectively inhibit the cells responsible for systemic lupus erythematosus -- the most common and serious form of lupus. There currently is no cure for this chronic autoimmune condition that damages the skin, joints and internal organs and affects an estimated one million Americans.

The team, which included researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of class R inhibitory oligonucleotides in laboratory experiments. The findings, which could eventually lead to new treatments, appear May 28 in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

"The increased potency of class R inhibitory oligonucleotides for certain cells involved in lupus flare-ups could help patients by providing specific inhibition, yet allowing them to generate a protective immune response when needed," said the study's lead author, Petar Lenert, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa Roy Carver College of Medicine.

During periodic flare-ups in people with lupus, the immune system overreacts and mistakenly attacks cells and tissues throughout the body, resulting in a range of symptoms including inflammation, pain and a characteristic "butterfly rash" across the cheeks.

Using human cell lines and isolated mouse cells, Lenert and his colleagues showed that the DNA-like compounds were able to selectively reduce the activity of two types of immune cells called autoreactive and dendritic . When given to mice with lupus, the compounds delayed death and reduced kidney damage, proving their effectiveness.

"With further testing, we hope that class R inhibitory oligonucleotides may become another weapon in the fight against lupus," Lenert said.

Lupus prevalence varies by country and ethnicity. It is much more common in women than men; nine out of 10 people with lupus are female. also is three times more common in African-American women than in Caucasian women and is more prevalent in women of Latino, Asian and Native American descent.

More information: DNA-like class R inhibitory oligonucleotides (INH-ODNs) preferentially block autoantigen-induced B-cell and dendritic cell activation in vitro and autoantibody production in lupus-prone MRL-Fas lpr/lpr mice in vivo, Petar Lenert, Kei Yasuda, Liliana Busconi, Patrice Nelson, Courtney Fleenor, Radhika S Ratnabalasuriar, Peter L Nagy, Robert F Ashman, Ian R Rifkin and Ann Marshak-Rothstein, Arthritis Research & Therapy,

Source: University of Iowa (news : web)

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not rated yet May 27, 2009
I would be interested to know how vitamin D -status of lupus sufferers relates to their disease. Vitamin D is known to suppress inflammation and a bigger prevalence in darker skinned people also would support the theory that inadequate levels of vitamin D in blood could make lupus more active.
not rated yet May 28, 2009
Good question, unfortunately the team hasn't looked deep enough and are a little out of date.
Lupus is not a disease, it is a symptom of autoimmune disease.
The Marshall Protocol has now been released to the public after 7 years of testing and clinical studies.
Physorg missed it, It was reported by EurekAlert!
not rated yet Jun 02, 2009
Lupus is but one of dozens of autoimmune diseases, not a symptom but a disease classified unto itself as others are, the criteria for each distinguished auto-immune disease is different in diagnosis, different body tissues or whole systems are affected by different autoimmune disorders. The demographic makeup of each of these disorders can also vary widely.

You may be confusing the classic 'butterfly rash' seen as a SYMPTOM with the disease. The disease called SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythmetatosis) The disease is quite serious and can attack kidney's, joint tissues, etc. During flares the rash is apparent. Not all suffers of SLE will always get the rash, therefore its highly doubtful vitamin D plays a significant role. There is a sub-set Lupus called Discoid lupus which is a less severe form of the disease and primarily affects the skin.

Vitamin D may play a role but certainly is not a curative or preventer in this and other serious auto-immune diseases. These are serious and very vexing diseases from which many people suffer. Like with other vexing and serious diseases and illnesses, the cause remains unknown except for a few which are totally hereditary. Great strides are being made in understanding these illnesses but there's no banana yet.

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