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.
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.
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.