Finding the Proteins that Stimulate Lupus
Mark Mamula, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (Rheumatology)
(Collaborator: Bailin Liang, Ph.D.,Associate Research Scientist in Internal Medicine (Rheumatology))
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a disease of the immune system that primarily afflicts women particularly in the first few decades of life. Although the specific causes are unknown, SLE is the product of a complex interaction of white blood cells, proteins and body tissues. Dr. Mamula’s study builds on previous work and investigates particular cell surface molecules that lead to production of autoantibodies that lodge in various organs and cause inflammation and tissue damage.
Highlighted Study Findings
A previous program-funded investigation identified one type of protein that may trigger Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE, providing initial information that could be used in the prevention and/or treatment of this disease. In this new Ethel F. Donaghue Women’s Health Investigator Program-funded study, Dr. Mamula investigated key cell signaling pathways believed to play a major role in the immune system attacking such tissues as heart, kidney, skin, and blood vessels. These cell signaling pathways were important to understand because drugs that act on these particular pathways have been used in early clinical trials but are not yet well understood. A more thorough understanding of the cell mechanisms of this disease and the action of drugs that affect the disease will allow the development of more effective interventions. This study represented another key step in this early development.