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. Lupus has several forms, but the most common is systemic lupus causes erythematosus (SLE). In SLE, the immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against the body’s own tissue. The lupus causes onslaught can have widespread effects, damaging the skin, joints, heart, lungs, kidneys and brain, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.
The disease lupus causes mostly strikes women, usually starting in their 20s or 30s, the foundation says. 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.