Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lupus Brain Damage Pathway Illuminated

Date:
November 23, 2001
Source:
NIH/National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases
Summary:
Scientists studying systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease whose symptoms can include neurological damage, have discovered a possible molecular mechanism for brain dysfunction in some people with the disease.

Scientists studying systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease whose symptoms can include neurological damage, have discovered a possible molecular mechanism for brain dysfunction in some people with the disease.

With support from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) at the National Institutes of Health, Betty Diamond, M.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and her colleagues have found that antibodies that attack the DNA of people with lupus can also attack molecules that bind glutamate, a neurotransmitter involved in nerve cell activity. These antibodies, they discovered, can cause neuron death, and are present in the fluid of the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid), possibly affecting brain function.

"For people with lupus and their families, potential cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms can be particularly distressing," said NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. "This work will help us move ahead in our understanding of the disease's nervous system complications."

In lupus, antibodies that attack double-stranded DNA are known to contribute to kidney problems. The scientists showed that these antibodies also react with similarly structured molecules called NMDA receptors, channels that control the activity of glutamate, the neurotransmitter that stimulates nerve cells. These same antibodies, moreover, are involved in the programmed death of neurons, and the investigators demonstrated their presence in the cerebrospinal fluid of a lupus patient. These factors, they concluded, showed a possible pathway to the neurological symptoms some people with lupus experience.

"Previous studies have documented cognitive dysfunction in patients with SLE, but there has been no explanation for this symptom," said Dr. Diamond. "The excitement of identifying this potential mechanism for cognitive decline is that it suggests therapeutic possibilities."

Lupus is a rheumatic disease with a variety of symptoms and an unpredictable, individualized course. It may affect multiple organs, with common symptoms that include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints, unexplained fever and skin rashes. In some patients, lupus can cause headaches, dizziness, memory disturbances, vision problems, stroke, or changes in behavior.

Lupus usually occurs in young women of childbearing years, but many men and children also develop it. African Americans and Hispanics have a higher frequency of the disease than do Caucasians. Both genetic and environmental factors appear to play a role in lupus.

The study was also supported by the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Foundation and the American Heart Association.

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the federal National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about NIAMS, call our information clearinghouse at 1-877-22-NIAMS or visit the NIAMS Web site at http://www.niams.nih.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases. "Lupus Brain Damage Pathway Illuminated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120043704.htm>.
NIH/National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases. (2001, November 23). Lupus Brain Damage Pathway Illuminated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120043704.htm
NIH/National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases. "Lupus Brain Damage Pathway Illuminated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120043704.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins