Scientists Identify Lupus Antibody Target

by Colleen Fleiss on  August 17, 2019 at 9:08 PM Research News
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A specific target of antibodies that are implicated in the neuropsychiatric symptoms of lupus has been discovered by scientists. The findings of the study are published in JNeurosci.
Scientists Identify Lupus Antibody Target
Scientists Identify Lupus Antibody Target

Brain cytoplasmic RNAs are pieces of genetic code that neurons use to regulate how proteins are made. They contain sections that code for where the proteins should be transported in the neuron -- the synapse. In lupus, this type of RNA is thought to be the target of an autoimmune response gone awry, but the specific mechanism is unknown.

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Henri Tiedge and colleagues at The State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University examined the antibody-containing portion of the blood, called sera, of lupus patients, healthy adults, and patients with other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Through DNA and protein tests, the research team discovered that the antibodies targeted the transport section of the RNA and directly competed with the transport protein that normally binds to that region. This type of competition hinders cellular signaling and may lead to seizures and cognitive impairments, two symptoms of neuropsychiatric lupus.

Source: Eurekalert

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