Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus

Joanna M. Burch, Lela A. Lee and William L. Weston


Dermatology Nursing. 2002;14(3) 

In This Article


Neonatal lupus erythematosus (NLE) was likely first reported in 1928 in two siblings with congenital heart block (CHB) born to a mother with Sjogren's syndrome (Aylward, 1928). In 1954, McCuistion and Schoch first suggested a link between the mother's autoimmune disease and the cutaneous lupus lesions in her newborn (McCuistion & Schoch, 1954). In 1981, Weston and co-workers published evidence that NLE is associated with maternal anti-Ro antibodies (Franco, Weston, Peebles, Forstot, & Phanuphak, 1981). Shortly after, Reed and Weston found that 70% to 80% of babies with CHB had NLE (Reed et al., 1983).

The incidence of NLE is not known with certainty, but appears to occur in about 1 in 20,000 live births and can affect all ethnic groups (Lee & Weston, 1995). Females are affected by NLE preferentially 2:1 for cutaneous lupus (Neiman, Lee, Weston, & Buyon, 2000), but males and females are equally affected with CHB (Buyon et al., 1998).


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