Systemic lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can involve many organs, and often strikes the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs brain and the blood. The interaction of genetic variants and environmental factors are thought to contribute lupus susceptibility and severity, so the variants are a diagnostic tool and not a confirmation of disease.
While there is no cure for lupus, early diagnosis and proper medical treatment can significantly reduce inflammation, pain and stop future complications.
In the Nature Genetics study, the nine DNA variants helped to identify those who had up to twice the risk of getting lupus compared to those who did not have the variants, the study authors said.
In addition to the drug targets, this study will help in the understanding of the causes of lupus and in the development of new genetic tests to find those most at risk for the disease, said Jeffrey Edberg, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine in the UAB Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology and co-author on the study.
Using the data from the study, UAB researchers and their SLEGEN collaborators are developing further studies to determine if the same gene variants signal higher lupus risks in certain ethnic or racial groups. Also, the scientists are examining how these genetic pathways contribute to developing lupus.
The UAB research team included scientists from the departments of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The consortium includes investigators from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, Wake Forest University, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, the University of California at San Francisco, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the Imperial College London and the University of Uppsala in Sweden.
|Contact: Troy Goodman|
University of Alabama at Birmingham