2008, Number 05-06
Medicina & Laboratorio 2008; 14 (05-06)
Gómez-Puerta JA, Cervera R
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ABSTRACTSystemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most diverse of the systemic autoimmune diseases and is characterized by the production of multiple autoantibodies, some of them closely related with specific disease features. SLE affects especially young female patients during childbearing ages. However, it can develop at any age. SLE pathogenesis remains unclear, however, several factors have been implicated, including genetic, environmental and hormonal. Additionally, cellular dysregulations (in B and T cells, apoptosis) and a cytokine imbalance have been described. Its clinical presentation is heterogeneous and any organ can be involved. The main clinical features include arthritis, cutaneous rash, glomerulonephritis, serositis (pleuritis and/or pericarditis), central nervous system involvement and in some occasions thrombosis. One of the main prognostic factors is renal involvement, which clearly reduces survival rates. Recent studies suggest a better control of the disease, reducing SLE flares and improving survival rates. During the past few years, several new treatments have been developed, some of them with promising results.