Feinstein researchers identify blood markers for lupus risk

Providers may be able to determine patients who would benefit from early intervention

Earlier this summer, Feinstein Institute researchers led by Betty Diamond, MD, discovered a method they believe can identify a person’s risk for developing lupus.

By examining and checking for the presence and amount of antibodies and a protein complex in blood, researchers believe they can identify those patient who may benefit from early intervention or who may be at risk of an impending flare up.

The findings, published in the open-access journal Molecular Medicine, included the development of an index that identifies the risk for lupus based on the presence and amount of Immunoglobin G (IgG) and Immunoglobin M (IgM) antibodies and levels of C1q, a protein complex associated with protection from lupus, in blood serum.

To compare potential biomarkers of lupus, or systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE), among women with different SLE risks, the authors analyzed blood serum samples from five cohorts: 40 Malian (West African) women with a history of malaria infection (MAL), 51 African American lupus patients (SLE), 80 healthy African American women (AAHC), 98 unaffected sisters of lupus patients (SIS), and 16 Caucasian healthy controls (CHC).

“We have been curious about why individuals of West African descent have a higher prevalence of lupus,” said Dr. Diamond, the corresponding author of the paper. “A better understanding about the risk of lupus and why it differs between populations could help us better treat or even prevent people from getting the condition.”

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