Exploring the Brain-Immune System Relationship in Neuropsychiatric Lupus
To shed light on the potential link between immune-system cells and neuropsychiatric lupus (NPSLE), Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship (Finzi) award winner Erica Moore has initiated research examining how brain-infiltrating T cells may contribute to the disease. Studying lupus prone mice, she aims to show how specific types of T cells, known as T follicular helper cells (Tfh), play a role in accelerating NPSLE onset and worsening symptoms. Tfh normally help in the production of antibodies against foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses. However, in people with lupus, these Tfh cells may contribute to the body’s autoantibody response in the brain.
“The mechanisms contributing to neuropsychiatric lupus are complex and not yet completely understood which prevents the development and potential use of pathogenesis-driven treatments for patients with lupus. Through my research, I may be able to provide evidence of the role of T cells in neuropsychiatric lupus and therefore, could be leveraged as potential therapeutic targets.” Moore explains.
Although Moore’s research supported by LFA’s Finzi award has ended, the project continues to move forward, and the progress Moore has made will help explain T cell involvement in NPSLE. Ultimately, it may not only further clarify the complex mechanisms underlying the disease, but also identify potential biomarkers and targeted therapies to improve future treatment. Each year, the Finzi award grant program connects students with leading scientists in the lupus field to advance lupus research and contribute to future therapies, prevention strategies and educational programs. Learn more about Moore and her research efforts.