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Trends Mol Med. 2010 Feb;16(2):47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2009.12.005. Epub 2010 Feb 4.

Pathogenesis of human systemic lupus erythematosus: recent advances.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with manifestations derived from the involvement of multiple organs including the kidneys, joints, nervous system and hematopoietic organs. Immune system aberrations, as well as heritable, hormonal and environmental factors interplay in the expression of organ damage. Recent contributions from different fields have developed our understanding of SLE and reshaped current pathogenic models. Here, we review recent findings that deal with (i) genes associated with disease expression; (ii) immune cell molecular abnormalities that lead to autoimmune pathology; (iii) the role of hormones and sex chromosomes in the development of disease; and (iv) environmental and epigenetic factors thought to contribute to the expression of SLE. Finally, we highlight molecular defects intimately associated with the disease process of SLE that might represent ideal therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers.

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