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Lupus. 2012 Mar;21(3):241-50. doi: 10.1177/0961203311426568. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

Environment and lupus-related diseases.

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Department of Medicine C, Wolfson Medical Center, Israel.


Clinical manifestations of lupus are encountered in a variety of disease entities, including isolated cutaneous lupus, undifferentiated connective tissue disease, mixed connective tissue disease, drug-induced lupus, overlap syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). While each entity has been recognized as a specific disease with its own diverse clinical and serological pattern, one could argue that many findings are common. Could it be that all of these entities actually represent a spectrum of one disease? Could it be that rather than the genetic predisposition and hence controlled factors that govern this spectrum of diseases, that environmental factors associated with SLE could also play a role in the different entities of this spectrum? The traditional environmental triggers in SLE include sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light, infections, smoking, and medications including biologics such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) blockers. In this review, we update and further substantiate these traditional factors in the various lupus-related syndromes. We will also discuss the association with vaccine exposure, industrial estrogens, and other factors.

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