Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) represents a challenging autoimmune disease from a clinical perspective because of its varied forms of presentation. Although broad-spectrum steroids remain the standard treatment for SLE, they have many side effects and only provide temporary relief from the symptoms of the disease. Thus, gaining a deeper understanding of the genetic traits and biological pathways that confer susceptibility to SLE will help in the design of more targeted and effective therapeutics. Both human genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and investigations using a variety of mouse models of SLE have been valuable for the identification of the genes and pathways involved in pathogenesis. In this Review, we link human susceptibility genes for SLE with biological pathways characterized in mouse models of lupus, and discuss how the mechanistic insights gained could advance drug discovery for the disease.
Keywords: Human genetics; Lupus; Mouse models; SLE; Susceptibility genes.
© 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.