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Lupus is formally known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). It is one of many diseases referred to as an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune
system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

When the immune system is functioning normally, it makes proteins called antibodies that protect us against things such as viruses and bacteria. Lupus is characterized
by the presence of antibodies against a person's own proteins; these are most commonly anti-nuclear antibodies, which are found in nearly all people with Lupus. These
antibodies lead to inflammation. Although the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases is unknown, most believe that lupus results from both genetic and environmental

Gender and ethnic disparities
  • Lupus predominantly occurs in women of reproductive age
  • Lupus is more common among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians than Europeans

  • Genetic basis
  • Lupus is a heritable disease but genetics is only part of the story (Heritability estimate = 66%)
  • Familial clustering (sibling recurrence risk ratio = 30)
  • Twin studies (10 times higher concordance rate in monozygotic vs. dizygotic twins)

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