WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. New research provides clues about the causes of lupus symptoms and suggests specific new targeted treatment strategies, according to Nilamadham Mishra, M.D., from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in presentations this week at the American College of Rheumatology in Boston.
The studies looked at premature atherosclerosis in lupus patients as well as accelerated cell death that seems to be behind many of the diseases symptoms. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can involve the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain and blood. An estimated two million Americans have a form of lupus.
In one study, Mishra and colleagues looked at the potential mechanisms of premature atherosclerosis, which is one of the leading causes of death and disability in lupus patients. Even when they take drugs to lower their cholesterol, lupus patients still develop fatty buildups in their vessels, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Previous research by Mishra found that a new class of drugs being developed (histone deacetylase inhibitors) were effective at preventing atherosclerosis in mice prone to develop the disease. In the current study, Mishra and colleagues explored whether it is a specific histone deacetylase, number 9 (HDAC9), that causes the problem.
Histones are considered the master regulators in gene expression, and Mishra was the first to establish an association between abnormal histone codes and the complications of lupus in a mouse model of lupus.
In the current study, the researchers found that in atherosclerosis-prone mice, there is more HDAC9 than usual in the macrophages, which are cells within the artery walls that collect cholesterol and can lead to atherosclerosis. They found that these increased levels of HDAC9 increase inflammation in the arteries as well as the buildup of fatty tissue that may break off and cause a heart attack or stroke.
In mice macrophages that wer
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center