What Causes Lupus' Impact on Immune System?

Source: HealthDay

As reported by HealthDay, scientists have found new clues that help explain what's going wrong in the immune systems of people with lupus -- insight they hope will lead to new therapies, or help guide current treatment choices.

In the new study, the researchers found evidence that in people with lupus, some of the immune system's "B cells" mature the wrong way -- so that they promote inflammation instead of fighting it.

The findings, published online March 8 in the journal Immunity, could help in developing new lupus therapies, said senior researcher Claudia Mauri. She is a professor of immunology at University College London in the United Kingdom.

In people without lupus, anti-inflammatory B cells appear to prevent excessive production of a protein called interferon-alpha, explained Mauri.

That's a critical job because too much interferon-alpha leads to too many B cells that produce antibodies, the study authors said. Antibodies are necessary soldiers in the body's defense against infection, but in lupus, some of those antibodies target the body itself.