Which environmental factors may have a role in the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)?

Updated: Aug 04, 2021
  • Author: Christie M Bartels, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Other potential factors include the following:

  • Silica dust and cigarette smoking may increase the risk of developing SLE

  • Administration of estrogen to postmenopausal women appears to increase the risk of developing SLE.

  • Photosensitivity is clearly a precipitant of skin disease

  • Ultraviolet light stimulates keratinocytes, which leads not only to overexpression of nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) on their cell surfaces but also to the secretion of cytokines that simulate increased autoantibody production. [39]

  • Breastfeeding is associated with a decreased risk of developing SLE

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