St. Jude led a study to identify cells responsible for kidney inflammation in patients with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects children and adults.
It was thought that B cells are the primary culprit in lupus. This work shows for the first time that a type of immune cell called a patrolling monocyte plays a critical role in lupus-related kidney disease.
The results suggest that treatments for kidney inflammation in patients with lupus should address the patrolling monocytes. The team is looking at the immune signaling pathways and the genetic regulation of patrolling monocytes to identify new therapies.
“Now we know that lupus complications are not all caused by the same thing,” said Hans Haecker, MD, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases. “In the kidney, patrolling monocytes appear to play a dominant role in disease, possibly independent of B cells.”
The Journal of Clinical Investigation published a report on this work.