Environmental Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Autoimmune Disease

M. A. Dooley, MD, MPH, S. L. Hogan, PhD, MPH


Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2003;15(2) 

In This Article


As more information is published on both risk factors for the onset of autoimmunity and for the development of progressive disease, it is becoming apparent that factors that initiate or promote the disease may not be the factors that influence the severity or progression of the disease. Many potential exposures have not been thoroughly or consistently studied for their impact on both disease onset and disease progression. Currently, the impact of silica and other exposures that were found to be important in the onset of lupus are being studied as risk factors for the development of lupus nephritis in a follow-up study of the CLU study. Hopefully, more of these types of studies will identify and resolve different risk factors for onset and progression of SLE. Better understanding of these risk factors will likely lead to a better understanding of mechanisms for the onset and progression of SLE as well as to more successful interventions targeted to specific high-risk groups.


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