Impact of Inflammation in Developing Central Nervous System of Children with Lupus
In a new study, researchers looked at the presence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the impact that inflammation has on the development of the central nervous system (CNS). They found these neuropsychiatric issues negatively impact cognition, mood, academic performance, and overall quality of life.
A literature review was conducted and researchers identified a subset of children with SLE that met the clinical criteria for neuropsychiatric SLE, or cNPSLE, as defined by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Common prevalent symptoms include mood disorders (28.3%), psychosis (22.7%), acute confusional state or delirium (15.7%), cognitive dysfunction (32.9%), seizures (48.6%), movement disorders (up to 9.4%), and headache (52.5%). Additionally, researchers found evidence that suggests early social life environmental factors can impact the structure of CNS and disrupt specific parts of the brain. The changes in the brain that occur during maturation contribute to the evolving cognitive, emotional, and sensorimotor functioning during childhood and into adulthood. Other systems are also commonly affected by cSLE, including the pulmonary, renal, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, hematological, and ocular systems. Neuropsychiatric symptoms, combined with the dysfunction of these non-CNS systems may interact with the brain and contribute to more severe symptoms and worse outcomes for children compared to adults.
Future research and enhanced clinical efforts are needed to improve early recognition of neuropsychiatric symptoms in order to optimize neurological development and boost better outcomes for children with lupus. There have been recent advances in neuroimaging and a greater focus on inflammatory mechanisms which should help researchers gain a greater understanding of the CNS and other influences on disease severity and progression. Learn more about childhood lupus and lupus and the nervous system.
Interested in getting research like this straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our bimonthly Inside Lupus Research email for all the latest.