People with Lupus Have a Different Makeup of Skin Microorganisms
New research finds people with lupus have a different mix of microbes on their skin compared to people without the disease. Every human being has skin microbes (microorganisms too tiny to see with the naked eye), which play important roles in skin health and immune function. For people with lupus, this distinct microbial makeup may help explain why they are so vulnerable to skin issues.
Researchers analyzed the types and structures of microbes in four groups of samples (20 samples each):
- Rash skin samples from people with lupus
- Healthy skin samples from people with lupus
- Rash skin samples from people without lupus
- Healthy skin samples from people without lupus
All four groups had distinct compositions of skin microbes. Healthy skin regions of people without lupus had a more rich and diverse mix of microbes compared to the rash skin regions of people with lupus. Meanwhile, the non-rash skin regions of people with lupus and the rash regions of people without lupus were even less rich and diverse.
Additionally, microbial makeup differed between people with active lupus versus those in remission, and people with lupus nephritis (LN, or lupus-related kidney disease) had different microbial characteristics than those without LN. Certain types of microbes were also associated with disease activity and LN.
The skin is the second-most affected organ in lupus, and roughly 80% of people with lupus experience skin problems. Yet, few studies have explored the diversity of skin microbes in people with lupus. Further insights may help improve skin disease treatment prevention in the future, and more research is needed. Learn about how lupus affects the skin.
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