Researchers Identify Potential Biomarker for Active Lupus Nephritis Found in Non-lesional Skin
Biomarkers can serve as early warning signs for individual health and can help indicate certain diseases. In a new study, researchers examined levels of microvascular C5b-9 (a protein found on the skin associated with inflammation) in people with active lupus nephritis, (LN, lupus-related kidney disease). The presence of C5b-9 in non-lesional skin (intact skin without lesions) can be a potential biomarker for LN activity.
Tissue damage in LN is brought about by the deposition of immune complexes and activation of the complement pathway. The presence of antibodies to double-stranded DNA creates complement fixing immune complexes which can activate the complement system and activate C5b-9, which has been shown to play a pathological role in active lupus.
Sixteen people with LN participated in the study and were divided evenly into two groups – those with active LN and those without active LN. Each person underwent non-lesional skin (intact skin without lesions) biopsies which were evaluated for presence of microvascular C5b-9. The researchers found: • Non-lesional skin C5b-9 deposition demonstrated greater specificity for active LN than pyuria (urinary condition that involves an excess amount of white blood cells), proteinuria, elevated double-stranded DNA (a common diagnostic marker of SLE and well documented to correlate with LN) and hypocomplementemia (decreased complement levels or complement deficiency). Identifying new biomarkers is important and could play a critical role in improving diagnosis and assessment of lupus. Additional research is needed to gain further insight on microvascular C5b-9 and assessing non-lesional skin as a biomarker for active LN. Learn more about lupus and the skin.
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