What is the role of immunologic factors in the etiology of lupus nephritis?

Updated: Feb 08, 2021
  • Author: Lawrence H Brent, MD; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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The initial autoantibody response appears to be directed against the nucleosome, which arises from apoptotic cells. [4, 12, 13]

Patients with SLE have poor clearance mechanisms for cellular debris. Nuclear debris from apoptotic cells induces plasmacytoid dendritic cells to produce interferon-α, which is a potent inducer of the immune system and autoimmunity. [14, 15, 16]

Autoreactive B lymphocytes, which are normally inactive, become active in SLE because of a malfunction of normal homeostatic mechanisms, resulting in escape from tolerance. This leads to the production of autoantibodies. Other autoantibodies, including anti-dsDNA antibodies, develop through a process of epitope spreading. These autoantibodies develop over time, in an orderly fashion, months to years before the onset of clinical SLE. [17]

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