Researchers have identified a specific target of antibodies that are implicated in the neuropsychiatric symptoms of lupus, according to human research published in JNeurosci.
Brain cytoplasmic RNAs are pieces of genetic code that neurons use to regulate how proteins are made. They contain sections that code for where the proteins should be transported in the neuron -- the synapse. In lupus, this type of RNA is thought to be the target of an autoimmune response gone awry, but the specific mechanism is unknown.
Henri Tiedge and colleagues at The State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University examined the antibody-containing portion of the blood, called sera, of lupus patients, healthy adults, and patients with other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. They confirmed that only sera from lupus patients contained antibodies for brain cytoplasm RNA, meaning it is not a universal target for autoimmune disorders.
Through DNA and protein tests, the research team discovered that the antibodies targeted the transport section of the RNA and directly competed with the transport protein that normally binds to that region. This type of competition hinders cellular signaling and may lead to seizures and cognitive impairments, two symptoms of neuropsychiatric lupus.
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JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.
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The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.