Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Lupus Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Genetic Link to Lupus

More Than a Dozen Different Genes May Play a Role in Causing Lupus
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 19, 2009 -- At least a dozen or more genes may help explain what causes lupus, according to two new studies.

Researchers have identified 12 genetic variants that are associated with an increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the disease commonly referred to as lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s natural defense system attacks itself. The disease targets the joints, skin, and other organs of the body.

The exact cause of lupus is unknown, but researchers have long suspected that genetics play a role because the disease is more common in some ethnic populations than others and also tends to run in families.

Genetic Link to Lupus

In the first of two separate studies, published in Nature Genetics, researcher Vesela Gateva of Genentech in South San Francisco and colleagues compared genetic markers in 1,923 people with lupus and 4,329 healthy people.

They found five genes that were associated with an increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus.

In the second study, Jian-Wen Han of Anhui Medical University in Anhui, China, compared potential genetic markers for lupus in 1,047 Chinese patients with SLE and a comparison group of 1,205 healthy Chinese adults.

Their results confirmed seven previously reported genes for lupus as well as identified nine new genes associated with an increased risk of lupus. Two of those genes overlapped with the five found by Gateva’s group for a total of 12 new potential genetic markers for lupus.

Researchers say the presence of these genes, together with environmental and lifestyle factors, such as sunlight, stress, hormones, cigarette smoke, and certain infections, may all play a part in what causes lupus.

Today on WebMD

grocery shopping list
And the memory problems that may come with it.
Lupus rash on nails
A detailed, visual guide.
 
sunburst filtering through leaves
You might be extra sensitive to UV light. Read on.
fruit drinks
For better focus in your life.
 
Woman rubbing shoulder
Slideshow
Bag of cosmetics
Video
 
young woman hiding face
Quiz
pregnant woman
Article
 
5 Lupus Risk Factors
Article
Young adult couple
Article
 
doctor advising patient
Article
sticky notes on face
Video
 

WebMD Special Sections