Evidence indicates that lupus may develop and flare when people who have a genetic predisposition for lupus encounter environmental factors that trigger disease. Reports have shown that environmental triggers, such as infections, smoking, silica dust exposure, ionizing radiation, and UV light, are associated with lupus.
The role of environmental exposures in lupus pathogenesis has been difficult to characterize and therefore is generally understudied. A better understanding of how environmental exposures (the exposome) contribute to lupus risk and progression is warranted. Similarly, understanding the interaction between the exposome, genetic susceptibility, and epigenetic factors in lupus may provide insight into disease pathogenesis, as well as new therapeutic approaches for lupus.
The exposome can be defined as the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those factors affect human health. An individual’s exposure begins before birth and includes insults from environmental and occupational sources. Read about the Foundation's research grants in environmental triggers.