Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine

Review Article

Targeting of the immune system in systemic lupus erythematosus

Meera Ramanujama1 and Anne Davidsona1 c1

a1 Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, NS-LIJHS, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA.

Abstract

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex immune disorder in which loss of tolerance to nucleic acid antigens and other crossreactive antigens is associated with the development of pathogenic autoantibodies that damage target organs, including the skin, joints, brain and kidney. New drugs based on modulation of the immune system are currently being developed for the treatment of SLE. Many of these new therapies do not globally suppress the immune system but target specific activation pathways relevant to SLE pathogenesis. Immune modulation in SLE is complicated by differences in the immune defects between patients and at different disease stages. Since both deficiency and hyperactivity of the immune system can give rise to SLE, the ultimate goal for SLE therapy is to restore homeostasis without affecting protective immune responses to pathogens. Here we review recent immunological advances that have enhanced our understanding of SLE pathogenesis and discuss how they may lead to the development of new treatment regimens.

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Anne Davidson, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, NS-LIJHS, Autoimmune Laboratory, 350 Community Drive, Manhasset, NY 11030, USA. Tel: +1 516 562 3840; Fax: +1 516 562 2953; E-mail: adavidson1@nshs.edu