JUN 02, 2018 11:24 AM PDT

New Test Predicts Lupus Onset

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Based on several different factors, scientists have a new risk index for predicting who will develop lupus. From the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the new diagnostic test could help scientists identify candidates for early intervention, improving their prognosis.

Systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect the skin, joints, and body organs when immune cells turn against the body’s own cells and tissues. People usually develop lupus between the ages of 15 and 44.

“Understanding risk and why it differs between populations may enable prevention studies,” explained corresponding author Betty Diamond. “Here we analyzed serum from unique populations with varying degrees of risk in order to identify serologic factors that might correlate with risk of or protection against SLE."

Researchers analyzed the levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM antibodies and the protein complex C1q in blood serum. IgM antibodies are associated with protection against the initial development of lupus, IgG is associated with preceding the onset of lupus, and C1q is associated with protection from lupus by promoting immune tolerance, preventing autoimmunity. About 90 percent of people with an inherited C1q deficiency also have lupus or end up developing it at some point in their lives.

They compared these three lupus biomarkers in blood serum from five different groups of women with different lupus risk factors. As anticipated, the levels of IgG, IgM, and C1q varied between the five groups. The results confirmed an initial hypothesis that high levels of IgG, low levels of IgM, and low levels of C1q increase the risk for lupus.

“The risk index we developed was highest in SLE patients; second highest in unaffected sisters of SLE patients; third highest in healthy African-American women and lowest in healthy Caucasian women and malaria-exposed West African women,” Diamond explained.

Interestingly, exposure to malaria is thought to increase levels of IgM and C1q, provided protection against the development of lupus even for people who are genetically prone to the disease.

The present study was published in the journal Molecular Medicine.

Sources: Lupus Foundation of America, Biomed Central

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 13, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUL 13, 2019
Learning More About the Causes of Endometriosis Pain
Endometriosis can be an extremely painful disorder that significantly impacts quality of life....
SEP 11, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 11, 2019
Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurosarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is a multisystem inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of non-caseating granulomas in the affected organs. The majority of p...
NOV 08, 2019
Immunology
NOV 08, 2019
Algorithm Predicts Response to HIV Immunotherapy
Blood samples from HIV patients produced the data necessary for two scientists to build a mathematical model for predicting how HIV patients will respond t...
NOV 10, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 10, 2019
Promising Results for New Vaccine Against Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is an illness transmitted by mosquito bites. Affecting around 390 million people per year, if left untreated, its mortality rate is 20%. Altho...
NOV 13, 2019
Health & Medicine
NOV 13, 2019
Antibiotic Resistance by the Numbers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released its latest Antibiotic Threats in the United States report, which is summarized in the vi...
FEB 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 06, 2020
China Begins Trials for Antiviral Drug to Tackle Coronavirus
So far, coronavirus has infected over 31,493 people globally, and has killed 638. Although 1,563 people have reportedly recovered, due to its fast-spreadin...
Loading Comments...