Study Examines Link Between Lupus and B Cells’ Genetic Material
Lupus is characterized by the production of autoantibodies, or self-attacking antibodies, created by the body’s B cells. Yet little is known about the way in which B cells become dysfunctional and ultimately contribute to autoimmune diseases. To explore the link between B cells and lupus development, researchers examined epigenetic factors (nongenetic influences on gene expression) from five human B cell subsets from people with lupus and healthy controls.
They found that certain types of B cells are “programed” differently in people with lupus compared to people without the disease, showing differences in the makeup of their genetic materials and the ways in which their DNA instructions are interpreted and expressed. These findings underscore how epigenetic changes to B cells may be linked to their malfunction and their production of autoantibodies. Learn about understanding the genetics of lupus.