Purpose of Review
Lupus erythematosus (LE) is characterized by broad and varied clinical forms ranging from a localized skin lesion to a life-threatening form with severe systemic manifestations. The overlapping between cutaneous LE (CLE) and systemic LE (SLE) brings difficulties to physicians for early accurate diagnosis and sometimes may lead to delayed treatment for patients. We comprehensively review recent progress about the similarities and differences of the main three subsets of LE in pathogenesis and immunological mechanisms, with a particular focus on the skin damage.
Recent studies on the mechanisms contributing to the skin damage in lupus have shown a close association of abnormal circulating inflammatory cells and abundant production of IgG autoantibodies with the skin damage of SLE, whereas few evidences if serum autoantibodies and circulating inflammatory cells are involved in the pathogenesis of CLE, especially for the discoid LE (DLE). Till now, the pathogenesis and molecular/cellular mechanism for the progress from CLE to SLE are far from clear. But more and more factors correlated with the differences among the subsets of LE and progression from CLE to SLE have been found, such as the mutation of IRF5, IFN regulatory factors and abnormalities of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs), Th1 cells, and B cells, which could be the potential biomarkers for the interventions in the development of LE.
A further understanding in pathogenesis and immunological mechanisms for skin damage in different subsets of LE makes us think more about the differences and cross-links in the pathogenic mechanism of CLE and SLE, which will shed a light in predictive biomarkers and therapies in LE.
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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81972943, no.81830097) and Hunan Talent Young Investigator (no. 2019RS2012).
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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
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Qianwen Li and Haijing Wu contribute equally to this article and should be considered co-first authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus