Team identifies potential cause for lupus

July 14, 2017, Northwell Health

Leading rheumatologist and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professor Betty Diamond, MD, may have identified a protein as a cause for the adverse reaction of the immune system in patients suffering from lupus. A better understanding of how the immune system becomes overactive will help lead to more effective treatments for lupus and potentially other autoimmune diseases. These findings were published in Nature Immunology.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to lose the ability to differentiate between foreign agents and healthy tissue. It becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation and damage to joints, skin, and internal organs. Previous studies have shown that a polymorphism or variation in the gene PRDM1 is a risk factor for . PRDM1 enacts the production of a protein called Blimp-1. In this study, Dr. Diamond and her team were looking to examine how Blimp-1 regulates the immune system.

"A healthy immune system is able to identify organisms that are not normally in the body and activate like T-Cells to attack them," said Dr. Diamond. "In the case of patients with an autoimmune disease like lupus, the immune system has started to identify as something to target. Our study found that a low level of or no Blimp-1 protein in a particular cell type led to an increase in the protein CTSS which caused the immune system to identify healthy cells as something to attack - particularly in females."

In an animal model, Dr. Diamond's team was able to show that females with reduced production of Blimp-1 caused an increase in CTSS, a that helps the immune system see microbes, or a microorganisms that causes . This resulted in an immune system which attacked healthy cells. Male animals with the reduced production of Blimp-1 showed no change in their immune system. Though more study is required to confirm that the risk gene PRDM1 could lead to a hyperactive immune system in human females, this is a significant discovery to better understanding the causes and potential treatments for lupus.

Explore further: Advancing our understanding of how the disease lupus is prevented in healthy individuals

More information: Sun Jung Kim et al. Increased cathepsin S in Prdm1−/− dendritic cells alters the TFH cell repertoire and contributes to lupus, Nature Immunology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ni.3793

Related Stories

Advancing our understanding of how the disease lupus is prevented in healthy individuals

October 31, 2016
A group of researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University(TMDU) have identified a molecule that stops the immune system from mistakenly reacting to a component of the body's own cells, which could improve our ability ...

Researchers find key mechanism to control antibody production

April 28, 2017
A research team from iMM Lisboa led by Luís Graça has found a cellular mechanism that underlies the development of autoimmune diseases.

Breakthrough opens door to safer lupus drugs

May 14, 2015
A ground-breaking discovery by Monash University researchers could revolutionise treatments given to lupus sufferers, saving thousands of people each year from serious illness or death caused by secondary infections.

Recommended for you

Severe stress may send immune system into overdrive

June 19, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trauma or intense stress may up your odds of developing an autoimmune disease, a new study suggests.

Composition of complex sugars in breast milk may prevent future food allergies

June 12, 2018
The unique composition of a mother's breastmilk may help to reduce food sensitization in her infant, report researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues in Canada.

Drug may quell deadly immune response when trauma spills the contents of our cells' powerhouses

June 11, 2018
When trauma spills the contents of our cell powerhouses, it can evoke a potentially deadly immune response much like a severe bacterial infection.

Immune system does not recover despite cured hepatitis C infection

June 11, 2018
Changes to the immune system remain many years after a hepatitis C infection heals, a new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Hannover Medical School, Germany, shows. The findings, presented in Nature ...

Food allergies connected to children with autism spectrum disorder

June 8, 2018
A new study from the University of Iowa finds that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more than twice as likely to suffer from a food allergy than children who do not have ASD.

A 'super' receptor that helps kill HIV infected cells

June 8, 2018
While treatments for HIV mean that the disease is no longer largely fatal, the world still lacks a true therapy that can eradicate the virus across a globally—and genetically different—population.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BubbaNicholson
1 / 5 (1) Jul 15, 2017
Lupus is obviously due to human pheromone poisoning.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.