Lupus nephritis: update on pathogenesis and disease mechanisms.
Immune-mediated nephritis is a common complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is now clear that multiple and independent mechanisms contribute to disease onset and pathogenesis, which may explain the remarkable phenotypic and histopathological heterogeneity observed in human SLE. Identification and characterization of disease-relevant autoantibodies, cellular effectors, and soluble immune elements have provided crucial insight into the immunologic interactions that promote renal immune injury. It is now clear that nephritogenic autoantibodies of diverse specificity localize to the kidney by a variety of mechanisms. They are accompanied by activated macrophages and T cells recruited in part through enhanced and abnormal production of macrophage growth factors and cytokines. These pathways provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention to prevent or ameliorate the aggressive autoimmune nephritis that characterizes SLE.
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