Causes of Lupus

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Coronin-1A Gene
Environmental Exposures
Viruses and Bacteria


Possible causes of lupus include genetics, environmental exposures such as insecticides and smoking, hormones, medications, and infections. (Also see Autoimmune Diseases and Overview of Lupus)

Serum Homocysteine Levels and Microalbuminuria (MAU) in Patient with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). The current results found a correlation between serum homocysteine and MAU in SLE patients. PubMed, Clin Lab, 2020 Sep 1;66(9).

Imbalance between CD8+CD28+ and CD8+CD28- T-cell subsets and its clinical significance in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. These data suggest that high expression of Fas, FasL and IL-6 and low expression of CTLA-4 by the CD8+CD28+ T-cell subset promotes the activation-induced cell death of the CD8+CD28+ T-cell subset. PubMed, Lupus, 2019 Aug 9:961203319867130. (Also see B Cells and T Cells)

Cytotoxic Function and Cytokine Production of Natural Killer (NK) Cells and Natural Killer T-Like (NKT-like) Cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosis Regulation (SLE) with Interleukin-15 (IL-15). Higher granzyme B expression of NK and NKT-like cells in active SLE patients, further enhanced by circulating IL-15, may contribute to the maintenance of inflammation in SLE. PubMed, Mediators Inflamm, 2019 Mar 31;2019:4236562. (Also see Natural Killer Cells)

Endothelial activation and injury by microparticles (MPs) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). MPs and MPs-immune complexes from patients with SLE and RA increase adhesion molecules expression, chemokine production, and structural alterations in macrovascular and microvascular endothelial cells. PubMed, Arthritis Res Ther, 2019 Jan 23;21(1):34. (Also see Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Aberrant T cell subsets and cytokines expression profile in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). T cell subsets and levels of chemokines and cytokines in patients with SLE and their relationships between disease activity and organ involvement were assessed. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 2018 Sep;37(9):2405-2413. (Also see B Cells and T Cells)

Coronin-1A Gene

New Genetic Mutation That Halts The Development Of Lupus Discovered. The lupus-suppressing action is the result of what is known as a nonsense mutation of the Coronin-1A gene (Coro1a) required for the development of the disease. ScienceDaily.

Environmental Exposures

Systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies on the association of occupational exposure to free crystalline silica and systemic lupus erythematosus. The obtained results support the hypothesis of a possible association between occupational exposure to free crystalline silica and SLE. PubMed, Rheumatology (Oxford), 2021 Jan 5;60(1):81-91. (Also see Diseases Caused by Silica Exposure)

Mechanistic insights into environmental and genetic risk factors for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This information is expected to provide practical insights into these risk factors in order to benefit patients with SLE and facilitate the development of potential therapeutic strategies. PubMed, Am J Transl Res, 2019 Mar 15;11(3):1241-1254.

The interaction between environmental triggers and epigenetics in autoimmunity. Reactive oxygen species that inhibit Dnmt1 upregulation, and a diet poor in methyl donors, combine to cause lupus in animal models. PubMed, Clin Immunol, 04/09/2018.


Associations between Polymorphisms in the IL-1 Gene and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): Evidence from a Meta-Analysis. This meta-analysis was performed to more robustly evaluate associations between polymorphisms in the IL-1 gene and the risk of RA/SLE. PubMed, Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 2020 Dec 7;1-9. (Also see Interleukins and Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Differential expression of the inflammasome complex genes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The data in this investigation emphasized once more the important contribution of inflammasome in SLE-associated inflammation. PubMed, Immunogenetics, 02/05/2020.

Associations between paraoxonase-1 and systemic lupus erythematosus. Meta-analyses revealed reduced paraoxonase-1 activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. PubMed, Lupus, 2019 Nov;28(13):1571-1576.

Association of TNFSF4 rs1234315, rs2205960 polymorphisms and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) susceptibility: a meta-analysis. The present study suggested that TNFSF4 rs1234315 and rs2205960 polymorphisms were associated with SLE susceptibility. PubMed, Lupus, 2019 Jul 12:961203319862610.

Gene–function studies in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The work discussed in this review has broad implications for our understanding of the pathogenesis of SLE and for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. PubMed, Curr Opin Rheumatol, 2019 Mar;31(2):185-192.

Association of interleukin 13 gene polymorphisms and plasma IL 13 level with risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The concentration of IL-13 was significantly elevated in rs20541 CT/TT genotypes compared with CC genotype which suggests that rs20541 CT/TT genotypes may be a risk factor for SLE. PubMed, Cytokine, 2018 Apr;104:92-97. (Also see Interleukins)


Oral contraceptives are a possible cause of lupus.

Contraception in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and antiphospholipid syndrome. Contraceptive choice in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is challenging but important. Long-acting forms of contraception such as the progesterone intrauterine device (IUD) or subdermal implant are preferable for most patients. Sage Journals, Lupus.


The microbiome links between aging and lupus. We conclude that there are several similar alterations in the composition and function of the microbiome of lupus patients and aging individuals. PubMed, Autoimmun Rev, 2021 Jan 18;102765.

Microbiome and Metabolome Analyses Reveal the Disruption of Lipid Metabolism in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Our results illustrate the perturbation of the gut microbiome and metabolome in SLE patients which may facilitate the development of new SLE interventions. PubMed, Front Immunol, 2020 Jul 31;11:1703. (Also see Research on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Viruses and Bacteria

Immune responses to an early lytic cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigen in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients: T-cell responses, cytokine secretions and antibody status. The dysfunctional immune response against Epstein-Barr virus previously established in SLE patients does not seem to apply to the same degree regarding the immune responses against CMV or human herpes virus 6. PubMed, PLoS One, 2018 Mar 2;13(3):e0193244.

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