Home CNS SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Identifies Key Mechanism Linked to Neuropsychiatric Lupus

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Identifies Key Mechanism Linked to Neuropsychiatric Lupus

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Doctor holding a card with Lupus, Medical concept

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University investigators have identified a specific antibody target implicated in neuropsychiatric symptoms of lupus. The identified symptoms include cognitive impairment, mood disorders, seizures, headaches, and psychosis—the most prevalent manifestations of the disease and occur in as many as 80% of adults and 95% of children with lupus.

Lupus Background

The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that more than 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide suffer from some form of lupus, with 90% of cases affecting women.

The Study

Titled Neuronal BC RNA Transport Impairments Caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Antibodies, was published today in Journal of Neuroscience as reported in the organization’s press release in EurekAlert!

The team identified antibodies that are directed at regulatory brain cytoplasmic RNAs (BC ribonucleic acid) that are unique to lupus patients. In layman’s terms, these antibodies disrupt these regulators of protein synthesis that allow synapses in the brain to control how they receive, store and recall information. Because these antibodies are unique in the brains of lupus patients, the study suggests that this is at the root of neuropsychiatric symptoms in these patients.

This discovery offers new insight into both how and why many lupus patients suffer these symptoms, and just as important, may well provide the basic understanding necessary for scientists to pursue effective treatments. The press release authors noted minority women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with lupus and more likely to be afflicted at a younger age.

Lead Research/Investigators

About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties–many of them ranked as tops in their fields–comprise Downstate’s staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, SUNY Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, SUNY Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the SUNY Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

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