New research suggests that patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) produce autoantibodies that can cause damage to multiple organ systems.
The host factors that are targeted by autoantibodies produced by SLE patients are not fully understood. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Jordan Price and colleagues at Stanford University developed a microarray to identify cytokines, chemokines, and other circulating proteins as potential targets of the autoantibodies produced by SLE patients. The authors identified several autoantibody targets, and determined that SLE patients with high levels of autoantibodies directed against the B cell activating factor (BAFF) had more severe SLE-associated symptoms. In an accompanying commentary, Maureen Su of the University of North Carolina and Stephanie Sarantopoulos of Duke University discuss how identification of autoantibody targets produced by patients with autoimmune disorders will be informative for diagnosis and therapeutic strategy development.