Scientists say they have identified a root cause of lupus — one that could pave the way for new treatments

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Science

A key mystery behind one of the most common autoimmune diseases may finally have an answer.Researchers at Northwestern Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital say they’ve discovered a root cause of lupus, a disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S.Scientists have long suspected that a person’s genetics or hormones may predispose them to lupus, and that the disease may be triggered by environmental factors like a previous viral infection or exposure to certain chemicals.Now, a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature outlines a clear pathway for how the disease likely develops, pointing to abnormalities in the immune systems of people with lupus.“What we found was this fundamental imbalance in the types of T cells that patients with lupus make,” said Dr. Deepak Rao, one of the study authors and a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts. T-cells are white blood cells that play a key role in the body’s immune response.The study arrived at its findings by comparing blood samples from 19 people with lupus to blood samples from healthy individuals. The comparison showed that people with lupus have too much of a particular T cell associated with damage in healthy cells and too little of another T cell associated with repair.At the heart of this imbalance is a protein called interferon, which helps defend the body against pathogens. Scientists have known for ma …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnA key mystery behind one of the most common autoimmune diseases may finally have an answer.Researchers at Northwestern Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital say they’ve discovered a root cause of lupus, a disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S.Scientists have long suspected that a person’s genetics or hormones may predispose them to lupus, and that the disease may be triggered by environmental factors like a previous viral infection or exposure to certain chemicals.Now, a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature outlines a clear pathway for how the disease likely develops, pointing to abnormalities in the immune systems of people with lupus.“What we found was this fundamental imbalance in the types of T cells that patients with lupus make,” said Dr. Deepak Rao, one of the study authors and a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts. T-cells are white blood cells that play a key role in the body’s immune response.The study arrived at its findings by comparing blood samples from 19 people with lupus to blood samples from healthy individuals. The comparison showed that people with lupus have too much of a particular T cell associated with damage in healthy cells and too little of another T cell associated with repair.At the heart of this imbalance is a protein called interferon, which helps defend the body against pathogens. Scientists have known for ma …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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