There are many unknowns in lupus, an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation, which can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. There is no cure for lupus. Symptoms are controlled with a variety of drugs that don’t work for everyone and have harmful side effects. Doctors don’t know why around 50% to 75% of lupus patients develop kidney problems, or lupus nephritis. As many as 30% of those patients go on to suffer kidney failure.
Researchers from University of Louisville School of Medicine are paving the way for better understanding of the mechanism behind the development and severity of lupus nephritis. They found kidney problems similar to lupus nephritis in mice with inactive ABIN1, a protein that helps control inflammation. That led them to study the gene which encodes ABIN1 in a group of lupus patients with and without lupus nephritis. Their discovery of gene variants associated with an increased risk of lupus nephritis could result in better diagnosis, preventive treatments, and personalized therapies in the future.
Researchers Identify Gene Variants That May Cause Kidney Problems in Lupus Patients, EurekAlert, August 22, 2013
ABIN1 Dysfunction as a Genetic Basis for Lupus Nephritis, Journal of the American Society of Neph
rology, August 22, 2013