Genetic Factors in Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) is a chronic, relapsing autoimmune disease that affects multiple organs including the skin, joints, lungs, kidneys and brain. The disease is at least nine times more common in females. There is evidence for both genetic and environmental factors implicated in the pathogenesis of lupus; however, the exact pathogenesis of the disease remains incompletely understood.
Using a mouse model, Dr. Sawalha will study a specific gene that is over expressed in the T regulatory white cells of female but not male mice. The goal of these studies is to provide new insights into mechanisms causing lupus, and identify new approaches to the treatment of this sometimes fatal disease.