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16-06-2015 | Systemic lupus erythematosus | Review | Article

Epigenetic Aspects of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Rheumatology and Therapy

Authors: Manfred Relle, Bernd Foehr, Andreas Schwarting

Publisher: Springer Healthcare


Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune hepatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease have complex pathogeneses and the courses of events leading to these diseases are not well understood. The immune surveillance is a delicate balance between self and foreign as well as between tolerance and immune response. Exposure to certain environmental factors may impair this equilibrium, leading to autoimmune diseases, cancer, and the so-called “lifestyle diseases” such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, and obesity, among others. These external stimuli may also alter the epigenetic status quo and may trigger autoimmune diseases such as SLE in genetically susceptible individuals. This review aims to highlight the role of epigenetic (dys-)regulation in the pathogenesis of SLE.

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