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Autoimmune Diseases, Lupus, Research

Research Links Lupus to Staph Bacteria

From the Huffington Post

While the number of people diagnosed with lupus has more than tripled over the past four decades, researchers remain baffled, for the most part, as to what exactly causes the autoimmune disease.

Previous studies have pointed to gender, ethnicity (lupus is two to three times more prevalent among women of color than it is among Caucasian women) and even the use of some prescription drugs as risk factors, but a recent study conducted at the Mayo Clinic has uncovered another possible risk — the bacteria staph, short for Staphylococcus aureus.

In the study, published online this month in The Journal of Immunology, even small amounts of the pervasive bacteria caused mice to develop a lupus-like disease, with kidney disease and autoantibodies like those found in the blood of lupus patients.

“We think this … could be an important clue to what may cause or exacerbate lupus in certain genetically predisposed patients,” said Vaidehi Chowdhary, M.D., a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist and co-author of the study.

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